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Obamacare faces another delay: En español

An ambulance speeds past a sign pointing to the emergency entrance of Los Angeles County USC Medical Center.

Here's one job we can all be glad isn't ours this week: Tech support for Obamacare.

There are reports of two more glitches today.

Small businesses who want to sign up for health insurance online will have to wait until Nov. 1 to complete the process, although they will still be able to enroll by fax.  

That's the small glitch.

A bigger deal is that the Spanish version of the main website for the federal exchanges -- the entry point to buy coverage -- won't be working for at least a few weeks.   

Matt Barreto, who heads up the polling firm Latino Decisions,  says after all the attention the administration has paid to getting Latinos to sign up for Obamacare, delaying the Spanish language exchanges doesn’t look good. “For a Spanish-dominated Latino household to then go to the federal government website and not be able to find that information, just symbolically makes you wonder how important is our community here,” he said.

Ten million Latinos are eligible to buy insurance on the exchanges, which open October 1. About four million out of that group are primarily Spanish speakers.   

The government's Spanish-language website, Cuidadodesalud, will still be open for consumers who want to browse the different plans, which don't kick in until Jan. 1. But they won't be able to enroll for at least a few weeks.

President Obama took up the tech issue today during an appearance at a Maryland community college. “Somewhere around the country there is going to be a computer glitch and the website is not quite working the way it’s supposed to,” he said. “That happens whenever you roll out a new program.”

Jennifer Ng'andu is the health care policy director for the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic civil rights organization in U.S.

She says she worries about the fallout next week.

“There has been such a fever pitch around Oct. 1 that there are people who will have expectations,” she said.

Ng’andu says the most important thing is that the government let Spanish speakers know when they should come back.

About the author

Dan Gorenstein is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Health Desk. You can follow him on Twitter @dmgorenstein.
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