Skip to main content

Latinos left behind by Obamacare

By Dr. Cristina Beato
updated 10:33 AM EST, Fri March 7, 2014
Alicia Martinez tries to sign up for a health care plan at a Miami Enrollment Assistance Center.
Alicia Martinez tries to sign up for a health care plan at a Miami Enrollment Assistance Center.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dr. Cristina Beato says Obama's Spanish-language health care site has been sloppy and often down.
  • She argues the Affordable Care Act will hurt, rather than help, many Latinos
  • Beato: Hispanics came to U.S. for promise of opportunity, but Obamacare is hurting that

Editor's note: Dr. Cristina Beato was born in Cuba and is a doctor and former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Department of Health and Human Services in President George W. Bush's administration.

(CNN) -- It wasn't until December 6 that Latinos could access CuidadoDeSalud.gov -- the extremely delayed and poorly translated Spanish version of HealthCare.gov. The thrown-together Spanish website has been a thorn in the President's side with the Latino community.

It's no surprise that support for Obamacare has waned among Latinos. A Pew Research poll found that last year disapproval of Obamacare among Hispanics increased 11 points from September 2013 to December 2013.

The White House is worried. Not enough Americans are signing up for Democrats' misguided health care law. And that means more problems -- most notably higher costs -- could be on the horizon.

So the administration is scrambling in the final three weeks of the enrollment period to sign up enough people to make the health care law work.

Dr. Cristina Beato
Dr. Cristina Beato

Yet the White House is ignoring an inconvenient truth: Obamacare is hurting far too many of our friends and neighbors in the Latino community. The problems go far beyond the demeaning and sloppy cuidadodesalud.gov.

One of the biggest fears the White House has is the low enrollment of millennials. Sixty-five percent of Latinos in this country are 22 to 35 years old, they are key to the success of Obamacare. If enough of them don't sign up for insurance plans, individuals may expect to face higher average costs.

But millennials say they aren't signing up because coverage is unaffordable -- or doesn't make sense for them. Fusion, a new English-language Latino TV network, illustrated the trouble with the health care law when they interviewed a 28-year-old Obama supporter who says he won't sign up for coverage because "he'd rather spend the money on his business, rather than spend it on insurance he says won't even help him that much."

Besides the affordability and enrollment problems for young people, our abuelos -- grandparents -- will be hurt by the new health care law as well.

Due to Medicare reductions under Obamacare, Medicare Advantage is being cut.

Biden on health care: 'Hell of a start'
Healthcare and tech intersect at MWC
Obama: ACA delay not meant to 'punish'

The National Medical Hispanic Association has called the payment cuts "disturbing" -- and rightfully so. Thirty-eight percent of Latinos with incomes of $20,000 or less enrolled in Medicare Advantage may face higher fees and fewer benefits.

But the pain for our community doesn't end there.

Across the country, Obamacare is bound to take a toll on some of the 2.3 million Hispanic-owned businesses and 1.9 million workers they help employ. The law has made it harder for businesses to hire more workers, and full-time workers have seen their hours reduced to part-time.

Ruben Rivas, owner of a small business called H2Only Renewable Cleaning, told Telemundo, "There is no way we can pay or provide employees their health insurance, because there is no margin. If I do that, I have to close the doors -- then no one is going to work. Unfortunately, we are trying to convert our employees from eight hours to 5.5 hours (daily) as stated in the new law."

Hispanics came to this country in search of the promise of individual freedom and opportunity, but Obamacare is undermining that promise.

We do not need special sign-up programs or false assurances. We need real health care reform that actually expands access and lowers costs -- not "reform" that makes life more expensive.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dr. Cristina Beato.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:33 AM EST, Thu December 25, 2014
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
updated 6:12 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
updated 8:36 AM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
updated 2:14 PM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
updated 10:35 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
updated 7:57 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
updated 11:29 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
updated 4:15 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
updated 1:11 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
updated 1:08 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
updated 1:53 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
updated 3:19 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
updated 5:39 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
updated 8:12 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
updated 12:09 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
updated 4:34 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
updated 2:51 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
updated 4:13 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
updated 7:55 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
updated 12:34 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
updated 8:42 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
updated 12:40 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT