WASHINGTON — The Obama administration vowed to continue improving grassroots efforts to promote Obamacare enrollment to the Latino community as leaders continue to express frustrations with the efforts so far.
"I would tell you that we've seen more than 70,000 calls to the federal call center from consumers in Spanish who are actively seeking information to understand their health care options," Health and Human Services spokesperson Julie Bataille said on a call with reporters Wednesday. "This is something that we will continue to have conversations about specifically with members of the Latino community in a variety of ways as we move forward."
The HHS official was asked to respond to frustrations with Obamacare enrollment voiced by Latino leaders like the ones at the National Council of La Raza and other activists, who say that Spanish-language enrollment has been hampered by blown deadlines for a Spanish-language online enrollment system and a lack of Spanish-language training materials for so-called Certified Application Counselors.
Bataille was speaking on a conference call about the first round of Obamacare enrollment figures, which came in much lower than projected, due, HHS leaders said, to continuing problems with HealthCare.gov.
Prior to the launch of HealthCare.gov, Obama administration officials regularly told reporters that Latinos and Spanish-speakers were a top priority for enrollment programs.
Bataille said that continues to be true for HHS, and said her department is committed to improving outreach to Latinos.
"Reaching out to members of the Latino community in particular is something that is top of mind for us," she said. Bataille said HHS is "working with community organizations on the ground, making sure that consumers have access to people who can speak to them in their language in person in a way that they would understand."