Enrollment numbers aren’t in yet, but the Obama administration already knows it has fewer Latinos signed up than it would like. One of the reasons they’re not enrolling? People in mixed-immigration status families worry personal information submitted under the Affordable Care Act could be used to deport someone in their family.
“That’s a big fear and something that the campaign is trying to address,” said Hilda Martinez, a campaign manager for California Endowment’s “Get Covered” campaign, which has spent tens of millions of dollars on Spanish-language media outreach. Unwilling to take a chance with their family being torn apart, some immigrants are taking a chance with their health or their children’s health.
The issue is especially critical in California, which has a big Latino population and has employed one of the most vigorous public-outreach campaigns in the country.
Authorities have deported a record number of immigrants in recent years — more than 1.9 million since President Obama took office. With immigration reform stalled, it looks like more of the same will occur in the new year.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has issued a letter assuring people that information submitted as part of applying for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act will not be used for immigration enforcement.
But Daniel Zingale, senior vice president with the California Endowment, says this assurance isn’t enough. “I think something from the president himself would be helpful,” he told Victoria Colliver of the San Francisco Chronicle. Martinez added it would be especially useful to have something in Spanish.
Beyond deportation fears, Latinos who’ve avoided the health care system in the past lack experience with the complex insurance landscape. Another difficulty is providing enough enrollment counselors to assist Spanish-speaking residents, who typically prefer face-to-face interactions over the anonymity of a website.
For those who want coverage Jan. 1, the deadline to sign up was Monday. The overall enrollment period will continue through March 31. These problems of Latino enrollment, however, will be difficult to resolve in just a few months.
The White House certainly has motivation to publicize and emphasize these assurances to the Latino population, whose enrollment is considered key to the success of the Affordable Care Act’s rollout. Younger and healthier than the average uninsured American, Latinos would help create a balanced and affordable health insurance pool.
And yet, given ICE’s policy of prosecutorial discretion, you can’t blame these families for worrying. More than 368,000 people were deported this fiscal year, and that’s actually a decrease from the 409,000 deported during fiscal 2012. In 2011, about 397,000 were deported.
“These families are just very fearful whether it’s true or not,” said Martinez. “We don’t have any reason to doubt the administration,” she added in reference to ICE’s reassuring message this fall, “but there’s this fear in the community that isn’t just going to go away with a letter.”
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."