EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On Saturday, U.S. Congresswoman Veronica Esccobar held a town hall meeting at Hanks High School in East El Paso. Her main topic was to get more El Pasoans enrolled in the Affordable Care Act also known as ACA. Escobar said that enrollment of El Pasoans has decreased.

Veronica Escobar holds town hall meeting at Hanks High School.

“Many of us believe that health care is a right, not a privilege,” said Escobar.

That was the goal of the Affordable Care Act that went into effect under the Obama Administration. Now, Escobar said it’s her goal to bring more awareness to El Pasoans during the ACA’s open enrollment period.

“Something to remember is when people without health insurance get sick it impacts our local economy and it impacts our pocketbooks,” said Escobar. “Folks who don’t have access to primary health care often end up in the emergency room at our public hospital where local property taxpayers pick up the tab.”

When the ACA began anyone who did not have health insurance would have to pay a fine. However, that mandate has since been lifted and along with it a decline in people enrolling.

“The long term goal obviously is to make high-quality health care affordable and accessible to everyone, we can’t do that if the administration keeps chipping away at it,” said Escobar.

However, some of Saturday’s town hall goers feel that the mandate took away their freedom to choose.

“We should have a choice, I don’t think anyone should be forced into anything,” said Lance Davis an El Paso Veteran.

The Trump Administration is working to eliminate the affordable care act altogether. However, Escobar said she plans to continue to fight legislatively and in the courts to keep it.

Escobar says there are fewer plans available than before but still many options. She says she hopes more El Pasoans will enroll. The open enrollment for 2020 ends on December 15, 2019. For more information and to enroll you can go to https://www.healthcare.gov/.