States, alarmed by the lack of background screening and restrictions on Obamacare’s “navigators” – who are paid tax dollars to recruit participants for the health insurance scheme – have begun preparing protections for their citizens.
More than 120 federal grants have been handed out in nearly three dozen states for various “community” organizations to be paid to recruit Obamacare participants. The grants amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.
The list of grant recipients, according to one organization monitoring the activity, “is a veritable ‘who’s who’ of the left-wing political machine.” It includes groups with ACORN-ties such as the Southern United Neighborhoods and the Structured Employment Economic Development Corp, or SEEDC.
SEEDC, according to the Goldwater Institute, “recently settled a $1.725 million lawsuit for fraud committed under another government program.”
“The American people have a right to be concerned about the agendas and integrity of these groups,” said Arizona state Rep. Paul Boyer of Phoenix, who is working on the issue.
“Once again we are seeing the federal government play favorites with public funds, and in this case under the guise of helping people smoothly transition to a marketplace that was supposed to simplify the process to begin with.”
The Goldwater Institute said it is partnering with lawmakers such as Boyer “to establish clear laws that protect regular citizens from having their private information [which is required for Obamacare] abused or collected for community organizations during their interactions with Obamacare’s navigators.”
The law explains that a navigator is not supposed to conduct private business while acting officially. But there is nothing in the law that prevents navigators from switching hats once their business is done to promote their own cause, the organization said.
“It’s almost as if the language was left intentionally vague,” said Christina Corieri, health care policy analyst with the Goldwater Institute. “Nothing prohibits them from recruiting and messaging while they’re at a community event or church fair as a navigator. Never mind the amount of information these people will have access to makes this an identity thief’s dream job.”
Boyer said there’s “no indication from the feds that they intend to address these serious concerns about the navigator program.”
“It’s now the duty of the states to forge their own protections for citizens,” he said.
According to WWL-TV in New Orleans, insurance agents are skeptical about the value of “navigators.”
“These navigators, number one, are not licensed insurance agents,” said Gabriel P. Janusa, president of Demand Insurance and Benefits, in Metairie, La. “Number two, they don’t carry errors and omissions insurance. Number three, the navigators or organizations that receive the grants are not performing background checks on the individuals that are going to have access to your personal, identifiable information.”
Patrick Taylor of Benefit Planning Group in the same city said the Obama administration “decided not to force them (navigators) to be licensed in the state of Louisiana through the Department of Insurance, because some of those people are felons. I can’t be a felon and give you advice on their health care.”
Fox News reported recently that one “enrollment assister” in Lawrence, Kan., had an outstanding warrant for her arrest. Another Kansas “navigator” was part of a protest earlier this year at Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s property.
Kobach, Fox News said, has been heavily involved in state-level efforts to strengthen immigration law.
“It crosses the line when you go to someone’s home and attempt to intimidate them,” Kobach told Fox News. “Now someone engaged in that kind of tactic is getting taxpayer money to implement Obamacare.”
The Center for Immigration Studies also found that an illegal alien from Peru who is linked to a union-connected New York group is working as a navigator.
Another group formed “from the ruins of ACORN,” Fox News reported, also now is working “as part of a multi-state navigator drive to help people enroll in the health program.”
That’s the United Labor Unions Council Local 100, a New Orleans-based organization that was set up by ACORN founder Wade Rathke after his larger group was broken up amid scandal in 2009 and banned from receiving taxpayer funds, Fox News reported.
Dan Epstein of nonpartisan watchdog group Cause of Action said that at a “time when our government has ceased functioning due to an appropriations gap, it is ironic that America’s tax dollars are being doled out to an entity whose poor stewardship of our funds was well-established by Congress.”
Kansas state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook is working now on a proposal to allow oversight of the navigators. The proposal would require background checks and licensing for anyone doing that work in Kansas.
“We need to give assurance to Kansans that as the reams of Obamacare regulations continue to roll down from Washington, D.C., we will be working with our colleagues to find solutions that will help shield the people of Kansas from the worst aspects of this broad government overreach,” she said in the Fox News report.
Forbes reported last month that in California alone, there is $673 million allowed to install an army of 21,000 navigators to push people into the Obamacare system.
“Reports indicate that each navigator will receive $58 for every person signed up,” Forbes said.