A Connecticut Reader Writes That Obamacare`s 150 Languages Go Back To Bill Clinton`s Executive Orders

From: Joseph Morabito [Email him]

In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell regarding ObamaCare, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that there are “..translators available in up to 150 languages to answer questions, help people understand some of the terminology.”

Indeed, in a recent speech to the National League for Nursing 2013 Education Summit , Sebelius explained how she visited one (!) of the call centers and asked “How does this work? How do we answer questions in up to 150 languages?” And I was able to watch a call come in, somebody speaking Mandarin Chinese on the other end of the phone. They didn`t know when I was going to be there or what language was going to be asked for. Within 90 seconds we were able to get a translator on the line with the caller and the expert and go through a series of this gentleman`s questions in Mandarin Chinese.”

Wow, like totally awesome, man.

So exactly when did this ultimate in deluxe multi-lingual customer service begin?

On August 11, 2000, then President William J. Clinton signed Executive Order 13166 into law. With that act, the federal government became officially multilingual, requiring any entity receiving federal monies to provide services in any language. Private physicians, clinics, and hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid must provide, at their own expense, translators for any language spoken by any patient. As Clinton aide Paul Begala once remarked “stroke of the pen, law of the law. Kind of cool.” [True to Form, Clinton Shifts Energies Back To U.S. Focus, By James Bennet, NYT, July 5, 1998]

Perhaps that claptrap on the Statue of Liberty should be updated to say “all reasonable accommodations will be met”.

See previous letters from Joseph Morabito.