Hispanics’ Obamacare Headache

Daniel Garza, Gainesville Sun, January 24, 2014

The White House’s failed roll-out of its Spanish-language health care website, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, is already a laughing stock. Much like its English language counterpart, the site is filled with technical issues, mistranslations, and links to English-only pages and forms.

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One issue that has received too little attention is how Obamacare affects patient choice and doctor-patient relationships. These are major issues for Hispanic-Americans. According to the Census Bureau, we’re the least likely demographic to seek out medical attention. A full 42 percent of Hispanics don’t visit the doctor even once a year. When we do go to see a doctor, we’re very picky. The National Hispanic Medical Association reports that Hispanics prefer doctors who “appreciate [our] culture and understand [our] families’ dynamics and [our] traditions.”

Unfortunately, our options are limited by the fact that only 5 percent of doctors are Hispanic (even though we’re over 22 percent of the Florida’s population). Yet that’s where Obamacare kicks in and makes things worse. Because the law imposes so many expensive mandates and regulations on health insurance, the most affordable health care plans no longer include the large networks that give us the most choice.

For Hispanics, this limits our already-strained access to the doctors we want and worsens our culture’s chronic doctor shortages.

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Obamacare will simply be too expensive for many Hispanics. The problem for us stems from the law’s over-reliance on the young. This directly affects the Hispanic-American community because we are significantly younger than the average American. In fact, our median age is 27—the age that’s most severely harmed by the Affordable Care Act’s premium increases.

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This litany of problems makes it seem like Hispanic-Americans’ needs weren’t taken into account by the Affordable Care Act’s architects. Surely we deserved better. 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, we couldn’t sign up for Obamacare online even if we wanted to. The broken website makes a mockery of the Spanish language—and it’s only the latest of Obamacare’s broken promises.

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