Administration Indefinitely Postpones Spanish-Language ACA Website Launch
Unfairly Maintains Tax Penalty for Those Who Do Not Buy Insurance
(Washington, DC) – According to press reports, the Obama Administration has indefinitely postponed the launch of the enrollment function of the Spanish-language site of the Affordable Care Act (also called the ACA or Obamacare) due to technical difficulties that have not allowed visitors to enroll. Visitors to Cuidadodesalud.gov will not be able to purchase health insurance, but they are still required to buy it under the law, or pay a tax penalty that begins at $95 in 2013 and rises annually. During the recent shutdown, Senate Democrats blocked legislation that would have reopened the government while delaying the individual mandate for one year, but that proposal was not accepted by the Administration or Senate Democrats. The announcement of the continued delay of service for Spanish-language consumers comes as the President today declared that the English-language site "is still working for a lot of people," -although there has been no exact number or enrollees released- and explaining that it will see a "surge" of talent devoted to improving it.
Despite the Obama Administration's continued efforts to boost support for the health care law, CNN's most recent survey on the Affordable Care Act shows that just 41 percent of the American people support it, while 56 percent oppose it. At the same time, public sentiment about the Affordable Care Act has collapsed on social media since Healthcare.gov came online at the start of October. Public opinion and support of the ACA may continue to drop if concerns regarding identity theft and weak privacy protections are realized. Public reports place the cost of the troubled website in the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative released the following statement:
"For months supporters of the ACA have been stressing the importance of enrolling members of the Hispanic community in the health insurance exchanges. There has been a continued effort to convince young and healthy Latinos in particular, that it is important for them to cough up their hard-earned dollars to make sure the law succeeds. But when it comes to providing a way for them to purchase care, the Administration comes up short. While English-speakers have a site plagued by glitches, Spanish-speakers have no website at all.
You have to question the priorities of an administration that claims to be a champion for the interests of the Hispanic community, but then forgets them at this critical time. And even as Spanish-speakers are denied a means to sign up, they will still pay a penalty if they don't comply. If they somehow manage to buy this costly care, they may not know which doctors are participating, or whether their personal information is safe – and they are likely to suffer from high deductibles as well. This law is simply not fair, for anyone, but especially to the Hispanic community."