Tablet Opinion

Dewhurst‘s concern for the uninsured in Texas

It’s great to see Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst express such deep concern about people in Texas who need health insurance.

Dewhurst sent a letter Monday to Julia Rathgeber, commissioner of the Texas Department of Insurance, urging that she postpone the planned Jan. 1 cancellation of the state’s high-risk insurance pool.

That pool, financed by premiums and by assessments against insurance companies that issue policies in Texas, provides coverage for people who have been rejected by those same companies.

The premiums for people in the pool are higher than for open-market policies, but these Texans face paying that cost or having no coverage at all.

Dewhurst’s concerns are prompted by the problems some Texans and others across the nation are having in lining up healthcare coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Computer glitches have stalled many initial efforts at securing financial assistance and signing up for policies under the ACA. The planned availability of that coverage was the main reason the Legislature decided to do away with the state high-risk pool.

As a Republican running for re-election, Dewhurst can’t let President Barack Obama get off lightly for the difficulties in getting his signature healthcare policy initiative off the ground.

In his letter, Dewhurst called the ACA “deeply flawed” and the Obama administration’s attempts to implement it “an abject failure.”

It might be a little too soon to call Obamacare a complete loss, but Dewhurst is right about Texans who are in the high-risk pool needing coverage.

If they don’t get new or continued policies by Dec. 15, they’re at great risk of a lapse in coverage after Jan. 1.

Of course, with a little less talk and a lot more action by Dewhurst and other state leaders and members of the Legislature during the last two years, Texas could have set up its own healthcare policy marketplace under Obamacare, tailored to the state’s specific costs and needs, and not be bothered by the current federal glitches.

Gov. Rick Perry was dead-set against that, no matter how much the Obama administration tried to ease the way. Legislation was offered to make it happen, but Dewhurst and others wouldn’t have it.

All of that is water under the bridge at this point. Deep concern about uninsured people in Texas is not.