With the deadline for
insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act coming up on March 31, the White House has launched a last-ditch effort to sign up millions of uninsured people across the U.S. Hispanics, who are
less likely to have insurance than the population at large, are one of the main targets of the campaign.
So it’s only natural that the administration would turn to major Hispanic TV
networks, including Univision and Telemundo, as well as impreMedia, a leading Hispanic publisher, to reach this crucial audience.
This week, Hispanic TV nets and publishers joined
forces to stage a national town hall with the goal of getting more Hispanics to sign up for insurance under the ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare. The event, “Tu Salud y La Nueva Ley:
Conversación con el Presidente” (Your Health and the New Law: A Conversation with the President), was held on Thursday, and the recording will be broadcast this weekend by Univision and
Telemundo, together with a radio broadcast on Univision America.
One of the main messages of the town hall, which took place under the aegis of The California Endowment’s
Asegúrate campaign, was the fact that undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. can sign up for insurance under the ACA without fear of deportation. The law prohibits any information collected
by insurers or government-managed exchanges from being passed on to immigration authorities.
President Obama stated: “For everybody out there who's in a mixed family, there is
no sharing of the data from the health care plan into immigration services. You should feel confident that if somebody in your family is eligible, you should sign them up.”
town hall comes after stinging criticism of both the White House and California’s state-run insurance exchange from Hispanic leaders, who complained that outreach efforts in the Hispanic
community have been insufficient.
Currently, there are over 10 million Hispanics who are uninsured and eligible for insurance under the ACA, including 8.1 million who qualify for
subsidized health coverage, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A third of all uninsured people in the U.S. are Hispanic -- around twice Hispanics’ representation in
the general population, at 17%.
As Hispanic leaders have pointed out, the failure to sign up Hispanics for insurance doesn’t just affect Hispanics. For the ACA to work, millions
of young, healthy adults signing up for insurance, in order to offset the higher costs associated with older, sick people getting insurance for the first time.
As the Hispanic population
skews younger than the general population, in addition to being disproportionately uninsured, Hispanics are crucial to making the ACA economically viable.