The authors of the federal health-care takeover known as Obamacare saw no reason to prevent felons from sitting in positions of trust in which they have access to citizens’ personal and confidential information.
Stunned state lawmakers have declared that’s simply unacceptable, and they are taking action.
The Goldwater Institute says Arizona, Colorado and Virginia are among the states already considering laws that would attempt to safeguard Americans’ sensitive identity information from “third-party Obamacare navigators” who have not undergone background checks.
In Colorado, Republican Rep. Janak Joshi, a doctor for over 30 years, affirmed that “patient privacy is of paramount importance.”
“It’s outrageous that the government officials we trust to keep us safe would move forward with a program that lacks the most basic protections for Americans’ privacy,” he said.
The institute said the bills that have been introduced establish background checks and disqualification procedures for felons seeking positions that would give them access to bank account numbers, tax information and other details.
The legislation also would let state authorities revoke Obamacare navigator grants for negligent loss of private information.
“With the continued refusal of Obamacare’s implementers to put identity theft safeguards into the navigators’ program, Americans have no reason to believe that their privacy will be protected,” said Goldwater Institute health-care policy analyst Christina Corieri, who worked with lawmakers to draft the legislation. “It’s now the duty of state lawmakers to forge their own protections for citizens.”
More than 120 “navigator” grants have been issued in 34 states. The list of recipients is a veritable “who’s who” of the left-wing political machine, including organizations with ACORN ties like Southern United Neighborhoods and the Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation.
That group, Goldwater confirmed, recently settled a $1.725 million lawsuit for fraud committed under another government program.
Federal rules don’t preclude groups or individuals convicted of fraud or identity theft from serving as navigators, even though navigators have unprecedented access to the financial, health, employment and identification records of private citizens.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has admitted that the Obamacare law has no way of preventing felons from being navigators.
So the bills – which also are being considered in Louisiana and South Carolina – would demand background checks and bar those with felony convictions or misdemeanors involving fraud or dishonesty.
The existence of fraud among Obamacare navigators has been documented by investigative reporter James O’Keefe.
He said, “Lying about incomes and smoker status came natural to the navigators we encountered.”
O’Keefe has released a video revealing that navigators advise undercover actors to to leave cash unreported.
See the video:
It's not the only effort by the states under way .
In fact, the whole Obamacare program is in the crosshairs of a number of efforts. Missouri state Sen. John Lamping has introduced SB 546, which states that "no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system."
It provides a disincentive for health insurance carriers to cooperate with Washington's massive plans for coverage, premiums, penalties and taxes. It requires the suspension of the license on any carrier that "accepts any remuneration that may result in the imposition of penalties contrary to the public policy set forth in this section."
To give the law some teeth, it adds: "The attorney general shall take such action as is provided in this subsection in the defense or prosecution of rights protected under section 1.330 and this section. It is the duty of the attorney general to seek injunctive and any other appropriate relief as expeditiously as possible to preserve the rights and property of the residents of the state of Missouri."
Missouri is not the first state to consider just punching the switch on an Obamacare lights-out plan.
In South Carolina, a plan has been put forward to exempt citizens and businesses from Obama's Affordable Care Act.
It would prohibit state agencies and officers from implementing any portion of the federal mandate, outlaw state insurance exchanges and direct the state attorney general to sue over selective enforcement of the Affordable Health Care Act.
Supporters of the bill contend it aligns with a Founding Father's solution for states confronted by an unwarranted federal law.
House Bill 3101, called the South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act, already has passed the House 65-34 and soon heads to the Senate.
The bill's chief sponsor, state Sen. Tom Davis, said there are several components which "in my judgment are legal, effective and within the state's power to do."
At the New American, Joe Wolverton II explained it "takes the teeth out of the Obama administration's ability under Obamacare to impose penalties on employers who take … federal subsidies."
He noted Georgia also is expected to take similar action, and the movement rests "on the anti-commandeering doctrine that has long been a key principle of federalism."
"Put simply, anti-commandeering prohibits the federal government from forcing states to participate in any federal program that does not concern 'international and interstate matters,'" he wrote.
The prohibition recently was confirmed in the 1997 Mack and Printz v. United States case, he said. The case brought by two sheriffs against the Clinton administration over "unconstitutional gun control measures" was decided for the sheriffs at the Supreme Court.
The Tenth Amendment Center said as many as 10 more states could be on the bandwagon soon, including Oklahoma.
Nullification: The 'rightful remedy'
Wolverton said the most potent weapon against federal encroachment of states' rights is nullification.
He wrote: "The states, through the exercise of the Tenth Amendment and their authority to rule as sovereign entities, may stop Obamacare at the state borders by enacting state statutes nullifying the healthcare law and criminalizing state participation in administering or executing the unconstitutional provisions thereof. Nullification is the 'rightful remedy' and is a much more constitutionally sound method of checking federal usurpation. It is quicker and less complicated than an attempt to have the law repealed by Congress or overturned by a future federal bench more respectful of the Constitution."
Michael Maharrey, a spokesman for the Tenth Amendment Center, explains that the nullification idea already has been applied to issues ranging from gun regulation, driver's license requirements and most recently, marijuana laws. The federal government folded when Colorado and Washington states made marijuana legal, despite a ban by the federal government.
The center's model legislation for accomplishing nullification includes a rejection of the federal law, a specific act implementing the nullification and legal challenges as needed.
The idea had been promoted in a movie, "Nullification: The Rightful Remedy," which notes Thomas Jefferson was among the early Americans who acknowledged the strategy.
"His draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 first introduced the word 'nullification' into American political life, and follow-up resolutions in 1799 employed Jefferson's formulation that 'nullification … is the rightful remedy' when the federal government reaches beyond its constitutional powers," it explains. "In the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, James Madison said the states were 'duty bound to resist' when the federal government violated the Constitution."
The foundation for the idea is that states predate the union, and the Declaration of Independence speaks of "free and independent states" with "power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do."
Thus, the union does not own the states but represents and protects them and their actions.
WND has reported previously on nullification, including a poll that found 29 percent of registered voters believe an "armed revolution" may be needed in America to restore liberties. A second poll said Americans already have figured out a solution – reject federal laws that are unconstitutional.
A Washington Times editorial at the time said supporters of nullification "see it as a necessary and effective tool to protect states and citizens from the every-growing power of the federal government."
Even in left-leaning California, the state Senate has joined dozens of other states in approving legislation designed to prevent the president from executing the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Fox News reported that in Missouri, a proposal declares all federal gun regulations unenforceable.
Missouri state Rep. Doug Funderburk said: "We have the authority to enforce these laws. We are trying to position us so that we in this state can have safer neighborhoods."
A commentary by the nonprofit tea-party group FreedomWorks noted the federal government "only has about 30 enumerated powers delegated to it in the Constitution."
According to the 10th Amendment, any issue not found in the U.S. Constitution should be left up to individual states to decide.
Now, FreedomWorks said, the United States has "gone grossly astray," with the federal government "involved in nearly every aspect of our daily lives from what foods we put into our bodies to what we're allowed to watch on television."
The earlier poll on armed revolution was by Fairleigh Dickinson University. It said that among Republicans, 44 percent think armed revolution soon might be needed.
On the general question of "nullification," 44 percent believe states should have the right to block any federal laws they disagree with on legal grounds. Thirty-six percent disagree and 20 percent are undecided, the pollsters said.
Weighing in on the subject, WND columnist Walter Williams argued that "moral people" can't rely only on courts to determine what is right and wrong.
"Suppose Congress enacted a law – and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional – requiring American families to attend church services at least three times a month," he wrote. "Should we obey such a law? Suppose Congress, acting under the Constitution's commerce clause, enacted a law requiring motorists to get eight hours of sleep before driving on interstate highways. Its justification might be that drowsy motorists risk highway accidents, and accidents affect interstate commerce. Suppose you were a jury member during the 1850s and a free person were on trial for assisting a runaway slave, in clear violation of the Fugitive Slave Act. Would you vote to convict and punish?
"A moral person would find each one of those laws either morally repugnant or to be a clear violation of our Constitution. You say, 'Williams, you're wrong this time. In 1859, in Ableman v. Booth, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 constitutional.' That court decision, as well as some others in our past, makes my case. Moral people can't rely solely on the courts to establish what's right or wrong. Slavery is immoral; therefore, any laws that support slavery are also immoral. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, 'to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.'"