Obamacare Especially Bad for Hispanics

Tuesday, 04 Feb 2014 09:21 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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From the error-prone website to its steep cost to limiting access to doctors, Obamacare is bad for Hispanics on all fronts, according to an op-ed piece in the San Antonio News Express.

CuidadoDeSalud.gov, the White House’s Spanish-language equivalent of Healthcare.gov, is a “laughing stock,” according to Daniel Garza, executive director of the LIBRE Initiative, a Texas-based nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advances the principles of economic freedom in the Hispanic-American community.

“Much like its English-language counterpart, the website is filled with technical issues and contains mistranslations and links to English-only pages and forms,” writes Garza.

Obamacare, intended to ensure all Americans had the benefit of health insurance, “penalizes” the Hispanic-American community, according to Garza, resulting in an even worse situation than ever before.

He points to a Census Bureau statistic that Hispanics are the least likely demographic to visit a doctor. In fact, 42 percent don’t see one annually. Hispanics prefer to see doctors who speak their language and understand their culture, according to Garza, yet only 5 percent of doctors are Hispanic, even though 9.5 million Hispanics comprise more than 37 percent of the Texas population.

“Because (Obamacare) imposes so many expensive mandates and regulations, the most affordable health care plans no longer include the large networks that give us the most choice,” said Garza. “This limits Hispanics' already-strained access to the doctors we want and worsens our culture's chronic doctor shortages.”

Even if Hispanics can clear that hurdle, paying for an Obamacare plan – even with subsidies -- is out of reach for many in the community, he says, due in large part to the law’s over-reliance on the young.

“This directly affects the Hispanic-American community because we are significantly younger than the average American,” Garza says. “In fact, our median age is 27 — the age that's most severely harmed by the (Affordable Care Act’s) premium increases.

“This is either an unfortunate coincidence or a cruel joke. It couldn't be worse for Hispanics' financial health. A recent analysis by Forbes concludes that the average 27-year-old's health care premium has spiked by 70 percent for men and 22 percent for women in Texas since Obamacare took effect.”

Penalties for failing to obtain coverage range from $700 for individuals to over $2,000 for families, Garza writes.

“We have the highest uninsured rate in the nation, at just under 30 percent, and yet Obamacare gives us little reason to join its ranks.

Then again, it would be hard to sign up for Obamacare online even if we wanted to. The broken website makes a mockery of the Spanish language — and that's only the latest of Obamacare's broken promises to our community.”

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