Thursday, December 13, 2018

Latino Health Coverage Expected to Fall Under the Trump Administration

In an effort to deviate from the strategies of the Obama Administration in seeking out customers for the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace, the Trump Administration has taken a “laissez-faire” approach to this year’s enrollment period. A decision that many Latino community activists fear may reverse advancements made by their community in pursuit of health coverage after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the English and Spanish enrollment websites would both be down every Sunday during this season’s already shortened enrollment period.

“The day that Hispanic families go to church… where we have been enrolling them in previous year,” said Daniel Bouton, director of health services for the Community Council of Greater Dallas sharing his concern over the scheduled Sunday outages.

Hispanic members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services(HHS) in August seeking reassurance that enrollment outreach would continue for Latinos, but were met with an empty promise to have a meeting arranged from an HHS representative.

“We’re getting ready, because we know it’s going to be a difficult open enrollment period,” said Claudia Maldonado, program director for the Keogh Health Connection in Phoenix, a group that connects underserved people with health services.

One hurdle to enrollment is the fear of deportation for many undocumented individuals in need of coverage. “Since the new government took office, when raids increased and the legal status of Dreamers… was in jeopardy, people started canceling their appointments” Bouton noted. However, moral amongst the enrollment navigators is still high as they share that they are not giving up. “We keep making calls,” Maldonado shared.

USA Today