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ACA 2017–Texas Marketplaces and Working Americans

Jack Urquhart© 

The ACA Marketplace was never intended as a program devoted exclusively to those in need of federal financial assistance. It’s detractors have always portrayed it this way–a lie.

For working Americans who can pay for insurance–the self-employed, the small businesses, or the employees of large companies that provide no or awful insurance–the Marketplace is the only reasonable means to purchase insurance. Prior to the ACA Marketplace, private insurers offered no reasonable healthcare insurance products for millions of working Americans who were not covered by corporate group plans.

In Texas this year the ACA Marketplaces are offering few if any worthwhile plans for working individuals.


The reasons are many, but 3 are worth particular note as they clearly evidence a failure to appreciate the legitimate needs of millions of working Texans..

First, Texas elected officials obstruct the ACA.

Second, huge and extremely profitable Insurance companies like UnitedHealthcare withdrew from the Texas Marketplace as a negotiating tactic to increase their hold over healthcare and reap even more profit at the expense of the consumer.

Third, most hurtfully, large numbers of prospering Texas healthcare providers refuse Marketplace insurance, forcing their patients to scramble for themselves.

For those working Texans, able and willing to pay reasonable premiums for reasonable health insurance, the Texas ACA Marketplace-2017 is unattractive, because many healthcare providers have chosen not to participate. Many providers that working people have used for years or decades chose not to join any Marketplace network–simply because it was a Marketplace network.

The working Texans whose healthcare providers will not accept Marketplace insurance are left with few options and all of them are bad.

The reasons Texas healthcare providers choose to reject Marketplace coverage are no doubt complex. It would be helpful for these providers to explain their choice to their patients who are left in the lurch. Yet, a sound working assumption is that many providers choosing to reject Marketplace insurance were insensitive to the effect their choice has on working Texans.

The percentage of working Texans’ income that goes to healthcare is too great and increasing. Pulling back the reins on runaway healthcare cost is a necessity–not a partisan issue.

Improving the quality and affordability of healthcare for working Americans seems an excellent non-partisan goal .A goal that would reduce the harsh political  divisions in Texas and throughout America. The problem, of course, is that plans, rather than slogans, are required. Politicians–and all healthcare stakeholders–must stop telling patients what they are against and let them know in concrete terms what they are for, and how their plan will help working people find reasonable healthcare insurance at reasonable costs.

A “great” America requires a “great” healthcare system.