Health Care: English Only

I happened to be reading the Federal Register and came across this choice gem. The Trump Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services is poised to modify Obamacare in a curiously Trumpian way. It is withdrawing health care facilities’ mandate to serve people who speak little or no English. No more multilingual placards. No more mail in a patient’s native language. No more translators to tell staff what a patient is saying and vice versa. This will make it much harder for people who know little English to find appropriate and safe health care, to be informed about the care that they are getting, and to give informed consent to that care.

The draft legislation, which is about 400 pages, can be found here:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/06/14/2019-11512/nondiscrimination-in-health-and-health-education-programs-or-activities

At the top of the document is a big green button saying “SUBMIT FORMAL COMMENT.” Do it. Push that button, and write your heart out about about the inequity of treating people with limited English as pariahs, the false economies given as support for such treatment, and the consequences of letting someone into the ER who has Ebola who can’t tell you because he only speaks French and there’s no interpreter.

The closing date and time for comments is August 13th at 5:00 PM EDT. As of this writing, you have 16 days to submit a comment.

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