Health Insurance Reform Resources

"With over 230,000 people in El Paso without health coverage, expanding access to quality, affordable health care is essential.  The status quo is unacceptable." -Congressman Silvestre Reyes

Click here to watch a special video on health insurance reform in El Paso (7 minutes)

What Will Health Reform Do For You?

What the New Health Insurance Reform Does For You This Year

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Frequently Asked Questions For Small Business Owners

Interactive Health Care Calculator For Small Businesses

Video: How Health Reform Really Works

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as Passed Section‐by‐Section Analysis

Text of the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute

Section by Section Analysis of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010

Text of the Senate Amendment to HR 3590 (Senate Health Bill)

Side-by-side Comparison - (House) Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) vs (Senate) Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590)

Congressman Silvestre Reyes has strongly supported the development of El Paso's health care facilities and other efforts to expand access to quality, affordable health care.  In 2009, Congressman Reyes successfully secured the authorization of nearly $1 billion in the 2010 Defense Authorization Bill to construct a new state-of-the-art William Beaumont Army Medical Center campus that will serve Fort Bliss troops, their dependents, and veterans. 

In September 2009, Reyes brought U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to El Paso to visit the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in an effort to push for additional resources for both the school and for the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation.  Following the visit, Congressman Reyes worked closely with Majority Leader Hoyer and others to include a funding provision in the Health Care for America Act that would allocate $100 million each year through 2015 to the Department of Health and Human Services to fund grants to develop medical schools in "professional shortage areas," such as El Paso.  These grants would have the potential to accelerate the development of El Paso's medical school and expand critical services for residents.  Reyes is a strong supporter of community health centers such as Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, Centro San Vicente, Project Vida that provide quality, affordable health care to those who need it most.   

 Congressman Reyes has strongly supported efforts to increase physician reimbursements rates to prevent seniors from losing access to their regular physicians and prevent further shortages of doctors in the community.  In November 2009, he voted in favor of the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act, which will permanently reform the Medicare payment system, repealing a 21% cut in payments to doctors scheduled to take place in January 2010 and replacing it with a stable system attached to the Medicare economic index.

Our community faces many health care challenges. El Paso has one of the highest concentrations of America's uninsured population, with over 230,000 without health coverage.  Our community suffers from disproportionately high levels of poverty and disease, including diabetes, TB, hepatitis, and cancer.  We have shortages of nurses, doctors, and other health practitioners, yet the needs of the community continue to grow.  El Paso shoulders much of the burden of providing health care services to such a large number of uninsured, under-insured, and the undocumented.  In fact, since 1998, El Paso property tax payers have spent over $400,000,000 to pay for treatment and services for thoese patients who could not afford to pay their medical bills at University Medical Center of El Paso. 

To meet these challenges, Congressman Reyes is working to support the development and expansion of existing healthcare assets in El Paso.  He helped establish the Border Health Commission (BHC) in El Paso, and helped secure over $11 million for the BHC in the past several years to focus on border health issues.  He has also secured millions of dollars over the years for other important healthcare assets in our community, including the Migrant Health Project administered by Texas Tech and UTEP, as well as for University Medical Center, and El Paso's community health centers. 

Access to quality, affordable health care is critical to the well being of America, today and in the future. Central to this is addressing the needs of the 46 million uninsured Americans, strengthening the Medicare system, providing health insurance to our low-income children, funding cutting-edge research into cures for diseases, and giving patients the clout to challenge the decisions of health insurers. Only through action on these critical issues can we meet the pressing health care concerns of our nation.


Washington, Mar 21 - Today, Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) released the following statement after casting an historic vote in favor of landmark health care reform legislation:  

"Today’s historic passage of health care reform legislation marks a great victory for the El Paso community.  This landmark legislation will significantly improve the quality of life for so many residents by providing access to affordable health care coverage to those who currently have none.  It will also provide peace of mind to those families with insurance, who will no longer have to worry about the prospect of financial ruin due to a catastrophic illness or accident.  

“Every day, thousands of families are being forced to forgo health insurance due to rising costs, and now more than 46 million people lack basic health coverage.  This disturbing trend is particularly evident in Texas, a state with the highest percentage of children and adults without insurance.  More than 6.1 million adults and 1.4 million children in our state are without basic coverage.

“Sadly, Texas border communities fare even worse, and all of Texas’ congressional districts along the border rank among the top 20 districts in the nation with the highest percentage of people without coverage.  In El Paso alone, 230,000 people - 1 in 3 - are without coverage.    

“Unfortunately, when it comes to meeting the health care needs of predominately Hispanic communities along the border, our state has failed.  Our Governor would rather waste millions on cameras and helicopters than on health care for border communities that need it most.

“The health care reform legislation that passed today is expected to provide coverage to 95 percent of Americans, while lowering health care costs over the long term.  For the first time in history, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying health coverage due to pre-existing conditions, health status, and gender.    

“This legislation will provide tax credits to help individuals and small businesses purchase private health insurance.  It also sets caps on out-of-pocket expenses for the first time ever, so families will never have to experience financial ruin due to a serious illness.  Without these reforms, health care costs will continue to consume more of Americans’ paychecks in the years ahead.  The annual average cost of family coverage more than doubled between 1999 and 2009, from $5,800 to $13,400, and is expected to double again over the next decade without reform.  Meanwhile, insurance companies are raising out-of-pocket expenses for families, and covering less in health care costs.  

“America now spends $2.2 trillion on health care, more than twice the amount per person than other nations, yet Americans aren’t any healthier for it.  Without action, health care costs will consume over 20 percent of the American economy in the next decade.  This landmark legislation will significantly reduce health care costs over the long term and will decrease the federal deficit by $143 billion over the next 10 years and an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction in the following 10 years.  

“As Congress debated this legislation last summer, I heard from many El Pasoans who shared their struggles under the current broken health insurance system.  One of the stories that had the greatest impact on me was that of Jacob and Angie Lopez.  Their lives were forever changed in 2006 when their beautiful daughter, Danika, was born with a long list of ailments and birth defects that required over 80 days of intensive care treatment.  

“While the Lopez’s had insurance through their employer, the co-pay for their daughter’s medical care was more than the mortgage on their home.  They exceeded their insurer’s coverage limits, and were left with no other way to cover their daughter’s medical expenses.  No other insurance company wanted to insure the Lopez family due to Danika’s pre-existing conditions.  In desperation, the Lopez’s had to quit their jobs to fall into poverty so their daughter could receive the treatment she needed under Medicaid.  Sadly, Mr. Lopez called my office last week to tell me that his family was forced into bankruptcy.  

As a grandfather, I would never want my grandchildren to endure the financial hardships that Danika and her family have endured.  It is for children like Danika, and my grandchildren, Amelia, Mateo, Julian, and  Orlando, that I proudly voted in favor of this bill.  

  “Our local community leaders have expressed their support for health insurance reform, and both the City and the County have passed unanimous resolutions in support of reform.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is endorsed by over 300 national organizations and associations, including the AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Consumers Union, the Catholic Health Association, the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, and many other medical professional organizations.

"The passage of this landmark legislation by the House of Representatives is a major achievement, and reflects the commitment and determined leadership of President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and the Democratic Congress to follow through on a key promise to help middle class families, who have endured years of rising medical costs.  I commend my colleagues for their determination to pass this truly historic legislation that will lower health care costs for all Americans, and strengthen our country’s financial future."

Additional Resources

Kaiser Family Foundation ( - Serves as a non-partisan source of facts, information, and analysis for policymakers, the media, the health care community, and the public. The site includes fact sheets, issue briefs, reports & studies, and surveys/polls on health reform, such as a primer on health care costs, and how the middle class is currently burdened by health care costs. Kaiser also hosts that can give tailored information about costs and statistics related to individual states.

National Health Policy Forum ( - A non-partisan organization devoted to health issues. This site includes a special section on health care reform featuring issue briefs, background papers and other publications on topics such as insurance exchanges and hospital payments.

Families USA ( - A non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides information on the current health care debate, including the current high cost of health care coverage, and the impact of reform on children.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ( - The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is focused on improving health care through increasing knowledge, creating new ideas, and collecting evidence. This site provides research and information on health care reform, including polling, analysis on how to pay for reform and a briefing on employer mandates.
• Synthesis Project ( - A project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, producing briefs and reports that analyze and synthesize information on various policy questions, including the high cost of health care and tax subsidies for insurance.
• - Resource within the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation web site devoted to research on the current debate on health care reform. - Affiliated with the St. Petersburg Times, this 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning web site is devoted to "sorting out the truth in politics." This site aims to debunk misinformation, including recent assertions on abortion and end-of-life care.