Judge Clay Jenkins, community leaders discuss Healthcare Marketplace during Sebelius visit

From left to right: Dallas Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

From left to right: Dallas Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

[Joseph Mancuso, PIO GIP Fellow]

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, along with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Commissioner Theresa Daniels, met with Dallas area community leaders in the Old Red Courthouse to discuss how best to go forward with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” The bill was passed into law in 2010 and enrollment in the Health Insurance Exchange starts in October. While the Texas state government is refusing to help implement the program, local governments such as Dallas County are working hard to ensure that every citizen has the healthcare they need.

Judge Jenkins opened the meeting by inviting community leaders on the panel to collaborate on all aspects of the new Healthcare Marketplace as well as how to most effectively communicate available healthcare options to the public.  Commissioner Daniel spoke in both English and Spanish on some of the details surrounding the policy along with Dallas Deputy Mayor Pro-tem Monica Alonzo.

Commissioner Theresa Daniel voices a concern with how best to educate residents of available healthcare benefits.

Commissioner Theresa Daniel voices a concern with how best to educate residents of available healthcare benefits.

Much of the meeting focused on informing citizens of benefits that will be available to them and on how to best encourage citizens to enroll in a health exchange program. It is estimated that nearly a quarter of Dallas County’s population, or 600,000 residents, do not have proper health care.

In an exclusive interview with WFAA, Judge Jenkins spoke on the kind of outreach that will be required for broad participation. “It’s going to be a monumental task, and we’re going to have to do the very best we can do.”

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