HOUSTON (AP) — Local health systems across Texas are working to disqualify certain patients who remained enrolled in the taxpayer-funded medical programs instead of getting insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

The hospital districts say that because insurance premiums are more expensive, many people opted to rely on the cheaper public care programs and pay fines for lacking insurance.

Now health systems want to bar those who are eligible for subsidized insurance through the federal marketplace from local programs.

It costs hundreds of millions of dollars annually for local governments to care for the uninsured.

Harris Health System's chief financial officer Mike Norby says the number of uninsured they care for barely dropped in the first round of open enrollment even though they identified some 48,000 patients who were eligible for federal subsidies.

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