Secretary Kathleen Sebelius talks health care reform in Houston

Published On: Aug 19 2013 07:11:49 PM CDT

Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made several stops in Houston Monday to meet with local leaders and discuss the Affordable Care Act. Irika Sargent reports.

HOUSTON -

Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made several stops in Houston Monday to meet with local leaders and discuss the Affordable Care Act.

Surrounded by Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, and dozens of other local leaders, Secretary Sebelius discussed the benefits of the Act.

Despite previous opposition from Texas Governor Rick Perry, Sebelius emphasized that the hotly debated health law was here to stay.

"This is no longer a political debate," said Sebelius said. "We call this the law of the land."

Sebelius said Houston is a prime example of a city that can benefit from the Act, improving option for seniors, prescription drug discounts and extended insurance coverage for young adults.

"Almost half of the people who are uninsured in Houston come out of that young adult population," said Sebelius.

Aaron Smith of the group Young Invincibles said his family has already seen the benefits of the Act for his 22-year-old brother who suffers from asthma.

"Now he's able to stay covered under my parents' plan even though he's out of school," said Smith, "because the law lets you stay on your parents plan until you're 26."

Sebelius also announced a new partnership with the youth group called the Young Invincibles.

"It's a new exciting online video contest," said Sebelius. "So we've got $30,000 in prizes that are up for grabs in a contest that showcases the laws benefits and importance of health insurance for young people."

Houston has been one of several recent stops in Texas for Sebelius.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is also heading to the Houston area for a series of events and meetings. Among other topics, he plans to speak about his opposition to Affordable Care Act.

Local 2 reached out to Cruz' office for an interview and to get his thoughts on Sebelius' focus on Texas, but Local 2 did not receive a response.  In previous statements, Sen. Cruz has said the Affordable Care Act is too costly and kills jobs.

He has also said the Act forces employers to hire more part-time employees and less full-time employees.

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