ProEnglish on Obamacare Translation Costs

ProEnglish Press Release on FOIA of Obamacare Translation Costs

June 2, 2015
Media Contact: Phil Kent
Phone: 404-226-3549
ProEnglish Finds ‘Shocking Taxpayer Abuse’ Within FOIA-Released Obamacare Translator Documents
ARLINGTON, VA – ProEnglish, the nation’s leading advocate for official English, today announced the discovery of previously unreported information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services dealing with language translation costs for Obamacare. “HHS finally responded to our Freedom of Information Act request, after over a year of delaying tactics, and there is shocking taxpayer abuse,” says ProEnglish Executive Director Robert Vandervoort. “Contrary to earlier protestations, there are long-pending contracts worth over a half a billion dollars which almost exclusively focus on spending in languages other than our supposedly common tongue of English.”

Among the information uncovered in the HHS documents forced to be released by ProEnglish are:

* English-speaking clerks only earned $12 per hour while translators are paid $22.74 per hour plus a monthly deferential of $643. This means that responders handling non-English Obamacare inquiries are being paid more than twice what English speakers are.

* A contract worth $90 million commanded more than $11 million for the Spanish-language aspect of phone-enrollment assistance.

* Another contract for $1.4 million (titled “Quijote Mod 2”) was aimed at securing the endorsement of a Spanish-speaking celebrity to promote Obamacare.

* A $563 million agreement created a non-English appeals system for Obamacare. To the extent that registration was heavily marketed in languages other than English, the agency had to provide an informal court of sorts for non-English speakers who had been denied coverage. Here they would be able to challenge in their native language any determination that found them ineligible, whether for lack of legal status or otherwise.

“One of the most incredible aspects of this document release is the treatment of non-English as a Section 508 ‘disability’ under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. This new legal justification is no doubt due to increasing numbers of U.S.-born non-English speakers,” Vandervoort said.

“This latest gouging of U.S. taxpayers underscores why Congress must enact English as our official language of government. Newly-assimilated Americans are required to know English in order to become citizens. There is absolutely no justification for the Obama administration to create such a vast and expensive multilingual system to accommodate non-English-speakers.”