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Why Hispanics Are Obamacare's Top Target

Why Hispanics Are Obamacare's Top Target
Photograph by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Obama administration took to the Spanish-language airwaves Wednesday morning as part of a big push to get Latinos to apply for Obamacare. In appearances on cable TV channels Telemundo and Univision, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Director of Public Health Mayra Alvarez encouraged viewers to enroll in the insurance marketplaces that states are starting up in October. They touted a new government website in Spanish, cuidadodesalud.gov, which steers people to sign up.

President Obama owes his reelection in part to Hispanics; as Kaiser Health News observes, they’ll also be critical to his legacy on health care. Obamacare mandates that people who don’t have insurance enroll in state-run marketplaces, known as exchanges, or pay a penalty. For health plans offered through the marketplaces to be affordable, the administration needs young and healthy people to enroll—their premiums will help subsidize care for the sick. Hispanics are an ideal target: The median age for an Hispanic in the U.S. is 27.6 years old, compared with 42.3 years old for whites. Hispanics account for 17 percent of the U.S. population—but make up a full third of the uninsured.