Advocate: Obamacare is creating headaches for Hispanics

Published: February 5, 2014
Advertisement
;

The White House’s failed rollout of its Spanish-language health care website, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, is already a laughingstock. The site is filled with technical issues, mistranslations and links to English-only pages and forms.

But the joke is on Hispanics and Latinos like myself. Beyond the federal website, the Affordable Care Act penalizes the Hispanic-American community in Oklahoma in several serious ways. The law actually makes affordable and quality health care even harder to find.

One issue is how Obamacare affects patient choice and doctor-patient relationships. These are major issues for Hispanics. According to the Census Bureau, we’re the least likely demographic to seek out medical attention. Forty-two 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. 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 don’t include the large networks that give us the most choice.

This limits Hispanics’ already-strained access to the doctors we want and worsens the culture’s chronic doctor shortages. But this isn’t even the worst of Obamacare’s problems. Despite what we were promised, the Affordable Care Act is surprisingly unaffordable.

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 its median age is 10 years lower than the national average, at 27. This is the age that’s most severely harmed by Obamacare’s premium increases.