US
FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2012, file photo, President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services  Secretary Kathleen Sebelius leave the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2012, file photo, President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius leave the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)  

HHS official: Administration changed name of Obamacare ‘exchanges’ because ‘marketplaces’ is better in Spanish

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

The Obama administration has stopped using the word “exchanges” to describe a feature of the Obamacare health care overhaul law because it does not translate well into Spanish, a Department of Health and Human Services official explained Thursday.

“We’re going to use the word ‘marketplace’ because it actually makes sense to people. ‘Exchange’ doesn’t translate to anything in Spanish, but ‘marketplace’ does,” Anton Gunn, HHS director of external affairs said during a Families USA conference in Washington, D.C., according to The Hill.

According to Gunn, the department wants to communicate effectively about the Affordable Care Act with Spanish-speaking Americans.

“We know that 12 million of the people eligible [for the law] speak Spanish, and one million more speak a language other than English or Spanish. These are the people we need to reach,” he said.

This month the Obama administration began the re-branding process, changing materials referring to the state insurance “exchanges” so they addressed “marketplaces” instead. The exchanges, long a critical and controversial part of the president’s signature health care law, where those who do not receive insurance through their employer can purchase subsidized health insurance.

The Hill also reported that Gunn joked that anyone who uses the word “exchange” instead of “marketplace” has to “put a quarter in the jar” as punishment for getting the word incorrect.

On Thursday The Daily Caller reported that the Department of Homeland Security is working to incorporate the Affordable Care Act into its welcome materials for new immigrants.

Follow Caroline on Twitter