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Fri March 14, 2014
Brooks County Drops Health Coverage For All Employees
A South Texas county is telling its employees to enroll in the Affordable Care Act because the county can't afford to insure them any longer. Brooks County is dealing with rising cost of health care, falling oil revenues and the cost of illegal immigration.
The 95 Brooks County employees were told this week they would lose their health insurance and they could sign up for the ACA at the local public library.
County Judge Raul Ramirez says the county - which is one of the poorest in the nation - can't afford to self insure their employees any longer, blaming falling oil revenues for the financial crunch, as well as the added cost of dealing with illegal immigration. Frequently local ranchers find unauthorized border crossers dead in the desert, and it's up to the county to pay for the burials and investigations.
"Thank god that we've only had twelve this year to date, but we aren't in July and August yet," Ramirez said.
Ramirez said he doesn't blame Brooks county employees if they're upset with the loss of health insurance. He says he's losing his too, and he's a 60-year-old survivor of a quadruple bypass, but the bottom line is, he says, the county can't afford it.