It’s the law: California patients can have an interpreter at their side…*SIGH*

January 5, 2009 § 2 Comments

Here is how this article starts:

Millions of Californians with limited English proficiency now have the right to an interpreter from their commercial health and dental plans – made possible by a first-in-the-nation law aimed at dismantling the language barriers that get in the way of good medicine.

The new regulation – implemented New Year’s Day after five years of hearings, delays and wrangling among insurance companies, regulators and consumer advocates – is widely hailed as a milestone in reducing mistakes because of miscommunication.

"This is really huge, especially in California where we’re getting more and more diverse," said Martin Martinez, policy director for the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. "Even if you speak English well, it’s really hard to understand what your doctor is saying."


Now, you can read the rest of the article on, as I did, but really this small blurb I posted sums it all up.  Not only does it sum it up but, for me, all it took was those four sentences to get my blood boiling a bit.  Please, don’t get me wrong, I am understanding of the fact that when speaking to someone that doesn’t speak the same language as I do that there are going to be some communication problems but that is why I live here in America, where I can be understood, instead of Canada where they wouldn’t have a damn clue what I was saying.  My problem with this isn’t that more people will be able to communicate and therefore get better help but that everyone else, that this has nothing to do with, will be punished with lighter pockets but would never be considered for the same service…I’ll explain.

First, lighter pockets:  While this may not happen right away, and will never openly be attributed to this service, the price of all health care plans in California will go up.  I’m not saying it might…I’m saying it will!  Everybody is in such an uproar to make sure everything is the same and equal for everybody but here’s the thing (and I hope this isn’t a surprise because if it is retake High School health and wellness) WE’RE HUMAN BEINGS WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT NO TWO OF US ARE THE SAME!!!  Yet now the insurance companies are going to be forced to provide this service but they will not be allowed to charge those customers that use it because here in America that is discrimination…do you know what its called everywhere else??? TOUGH SHIT!  If I was in Canada or Mexico and got hurt and had to go to the hospital, do you know what they would say if I asked for a translator?…to go F myself…and do you know what?  I would expect it! because in Mexico they speak Spanish and in Canada they speak whatever the hell Canadians speak and I DON’T.  What ever happened to having to be responsible for ourselves?  Why is it everyone else’s responsibility to make sure that even though, someone is a resident of a country and they’ve made the choice not to learn the language spoken there, that someone hold their hand and tell them it’s going to be ok even though this could have been an issue that was solved personally but it’s now the problem of society.

As to what I said about being considered for the same service, I’d like to address what was said by Mr. policy director for the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. "Even if you speak English well, it’s really hard to understand what your doctor is saying."  This statement alone completely crumbles the argument made that it’s not about the language but more about the level of understanding so that customers can make better decisions about their health care.  Are we trying to break the language barrier here or are we trying re-educate everybody?  Just because something is said in the correct language doesn’t mean that the person on the receiving end has a damn clue what is being said.  How many times have you asked a nurse to explain something to you and your told that the doctor should probably explain that.  If only a doctor is qualified to explain certain things to patients and even then people are left wanting…what then?  a scholar is brought in to give a lecture on the doctors explanation?  I think we’re walking a fine undefined line here and again taking personal responsibility out of the equation.  What happened to finding information on our own to fill in the blanks?  If I speak English but don’t understand the English being spoken to me do I get a translator? and on that note who decides whether or not I speak English good (that’s a joke…get it? speak English good)? the insurance company? the government? *sigh* a very fine line folks.

Please don’t get me started on being more unhealthy than the person next to you and paying more but not paying a cent for speaking a different language and needing a translator (THEY BOTH COST MORE MONEY PEOPLE!!! HOW IS THAT FAIR AND NON-DISCRIMINATORY?),


§ 2 Responses to It’s the law: California patients can have an interpreter at their side…*SIGH*

  • Michelle says:

    So my health insurance went up $17/month this year. That\’s an extra $204 I\’ll be paying to good ol\’ Kaiser Permanente. And for what? Better service? Nope. Shorter lines in the pharmacy? Not so much. Oooh oooh. How about seeing a doctor that speaks English? (Seriously, peruse the Kaiser website; and check out the family practitioners in Sacramento…The vast majority all received their degrees in a foriegn country and when you feel like crap and are sitting in the doctors\’ office, the last thing you want to deal with is a doctor that has a very very thick accent). My question is: Will I get a translator if I request one because my doctor doesn\’t speak English well? Really though, I\’m paying $204 a year for it.

  • Rachel says:

    This is insane. We live in frickin America people. Im tired of paying for other people who arent even AMericans when we are all struggling. The economy is in hard times, everyones scared and they are going to raise the prices of insurance to cover all the foreigners concerns. Heres an idea, take care of us first and then we will help the others once we are on solid ground. I hate liberals. Even when I try to see it from their side, I just end up being more frustrated with their ignorance. They have really gone too far this time. I pity all the Americans who are really sick or injured but cant afford insurance because of ridiculous laws such as this one. Good job, California!

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