Are English-Speakers’ Civil Rights Being Violated?

This blog has not written about the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services weekly enrollment data for a couple of weeks, when we noted that they had “slowed to a trickle“. Well, Obamacare enrollment is booming again, hitting 7.1 million enrolled on January 16.


So, it does look like we are on track to exceed HHS’ low-ball target, as predicted by Charles Gaba, who anticipates 12.5 million enrolled by the end of open season on February 15. I will not likely update my dive into enrollment numbers until after those figures are in.

For today, let’s just take a somewhat tongue in cheek look at the apparent discrimination against English-speaking applicants, who have to wait nineteen times longer than Spanish speakers to get telephone help: 7 minutes 34 seconds versus 23 seconds. (A reader noted this in a comment on an earlier entry).

This prejudicial treatment against English speakers has not been addressed in 9 weeks of Obamacare enrollment! Come to think of it, can you think of one federal agency where Joe Citizen’s phone call will get answered in 23 seconds? Not only is Obamacare’s federal exchange using taxpayers’ money to enroll people in such a way as to deny equal access to English speakers, it is happy to advertise the fact.

I wonder if some creative lawyer will find the next Obamacare lawsuit in these disclosures.

Comments (5)

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  1. Joe Barnett says:

    Do you have the wait time for Vietnamese speakers?
    Or the various Hmong dialects?

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    It’s interesting that the wait is different depending on the language of the assistant. I would normally expect the wait to be longest with the more diverse languages. Rather, it’s longer with the most common language. I suspect the number of people applying in non-English are few and far between. Many of the cultures that immigrants come from don’t have a long cultural history of pre-paying for health care in advance of need. Many may not see a need for health coverage.

  3. Jardinero1 says:

    Because of my work, I speak to a lot of call centers. I have learned that if you don’t want to be put on hold you mash the button for Spanish. The alternate language operators are never as busy as the English only operators. But the alternate language operators do always speak English as well.