Politics

The Obamacare model is a Latino immigrant

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

White House officials choose a female Latina immigrant to be the first face of their Obamacare network, highlighting the administration’s ballot-box focus on attracting Latino and women voters.

The woman’s identity was revealed by ABC News, which sympathetically portrayed her as a victim of popular opposition to the tax-redistributing healthcare program.

“The smiling woman who was once the face of the Affordable Care Act’s website has come out of the shadows to stand up to the ‘cyberbullying’ she says she suffered after the law’s flawed kickoff,” says the ABC item, headlined “Obamacare’s Mystery Woman Says She Fell Victim to Cyberbullies.”

The woman, whose first name is Adriana, is a Columbian legal immigrant living in Maryland. She’s married to a U.S. citizen, has a 1 year-old son, and is applying for citizenship.

ABC News detailed how she became the  face of the website:

Seeking free family photographs, Adriana emailed a contact at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for the Affordable Care Act’s rollout, about having photos of her and her family taken in exchange for allowing the photos to be used to market the new health care law. She was never paid.

The woman’s face was quickly removed from the Obamacare website, and was temporarily replaced by a picture of two Asian women, a fast-growing ethnic bloc that is also being wooed by Democratic legislators.

The pictures have now been replaced by logos designed to help people bypass the tangled software that was supposed to link users to the federal tax and immigration databases.

In 2012, and 2013, administration officials touted their efforts to enroll Latinos in the Obamacare program, which transfers funds from young, healthy and skilled people to older and unskilled people, including a disproportionate number of new legal immigrants.

In June, a senior administration official told reporters that 2.6 million people in California are eligible for subsidies form other Americans, and “nearly half of those are Hispanic and Spanish speaking.”

The administration’s outreach has been aimed at “particularly the Latino and Hispanic communities,” said a second White House official.  The outreach is being aided by mayors, advocacy groups and non-profits, she said.

Obama’s campaign aides said the program helped boost Latino support for Obama.

After the 2012 election, Obama advisor David Plouffe said Latinos’ support for the program aided Obama in his race against Gov. Mitt Romney.

“The bigger problem [Republicans] have got with Latinos isn’t immigration,” Plouffe said told The New York Times in February. “It’s their economic policies and health care [and] the group that supported the president’s health care bill the most? Latinos.”