While HealthCare.gov has been plagued with tech problems since its Oct. 1 launch, the Spanish-language version hasn’t even worked a single day.
The enrollment entry page at HealthCare.gov tells users to “Enroll now in a plan that covers essential benefits, pre-existing conditions, and more. Open enrollment continues until March 31, 2014.”
The same page on CuidadoDeSalud.gov, with the same smiling faces, says, “To apply now, call 1-800-318-2596 and a customer service representative will help in Spanish. The online application will be available soon.”
Yet Spanish-speakers are still subject to the same individual mandate penalties.
“Hispanics have among the highest uninsured rates in the nation. Yet despite hundreds of millions of dollars devoted to a Spanish-language propaganda campaign, the Spanish-language ObamaCare website hasn’t even been launched,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a statement issued in both Spanish and English.
Administration officials had previously estimated the Spanish site would be up and running by mid-October. The Department of Health and Human Services is being mum about the delay on top of the already admitted delay.
HHS does estimate, though, that it’s received about 41,000 Spanish-language calls. More than 10 million Latinos in the country lack health insurance.
Next week when the Senate is back in session, Rubio will introduce a bill to delay the individual mandate until six months after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) certifies the websites and all other sign-up options — phone lines that have been reported as sometimes down, mail and fax — are fully functional.
“It’s not fair to punish anyone for not buying ObamaCare when the website they are supposed to buy it on doesn’t work. That is why I intend to introduce legislation to delay the individual mandate until the GAO certifies that the ObamaCare exchange website has been fixed and fully functional for at least six months,” Rubio said.
“I still believe that Obamacare will eventually be repealed and replaced,” the senator added. “But at the very least, all should be spared from its tax penalties and having the IRS come after them until all of ObamaCare’s enrollment options are fully functional for at least six months.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus hasn’t mentioned anything about the CuidadoDeSalud.gov delays. Instead, they’re pressing the Obama administration to act quickly on immigration reform.
“There is broad support for immigration in the Congress as was evident with Senate passage of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) in June,” caucus Chairman Rubén Hinojosa said last week. “It is now time for the House to act. Passage of a commonsense bill like S. 744 will reduce the federal budget deficit by nearly $850 billion and increase economic growth by more than $1 trillion over the next 20 years.”