Limited English Proficiency


Hard Enough Understanding Health Law in English; Try in Mongolian, Khmer or Even Spanish

By Judy Lin, Associated Press

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 10.15.47 AMOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Set on a gritty corner of Oakland’s International Boulevard, the nonprofit Street Level Health Project offers free checkups to patients who speak a total of 22 languages, from recent Mongolian immigrants seeking a doctor to Burmese refugees in need of a basic dental exam.

It also provides a window into one of the challenges for state officials who are trying to implement the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul.

“‘Covered California’ translates to ‘California Cubierto’ in Spanish — but what exactly does it mean?”
Understanding the law is a challenge even for governors, state lawmakers and agency officials, but delivering its message to non-English speakers who can benefit from it is shaping up as a special complication. That is especially true in California and other states with large and diverse immigrant populations.

California has the largest minority population of any state, about 22.3 million people. That’s followed by Texas with 13.7 million, and New York with 8.1 million. Continue reading