December 17 2013

Carney to Conservatives: Stop the Obsession

Patrice J. Lee

Yesterday we reported about ObamaCare navigators stalking sneaker stores and clubs to enroll young people in ObamaCare. They are doing whatever it takes to hit their numbers and that is part of the problem with them.

Yesterday also brought big news: the House Oversight Committee released a report on findings of its investigation into the (mis)behavior of ObamaCare navigators across the country. Navigators are a key outreach component in getting people to sign up for ObamaCare. As you can imagine, the report was not pretty, finding cases where navigators reportedly encouraged tax fraud, transmitted blatantly incorrect information, were ill-equipped to manage the fallout of the healthcare.gov website failures, and placed private information of applicants at risk. These are not insignificant concerns.

Don’t tell that to the White House. Blasting the report as “obsessive” Jay Carney lashed back:

“This is just one more data point in the Republican obsession in sabotaging Obamacare,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “All navigators must complete about 20 hours of training, including training on privacy issues. This training is not a one-time only process. Navigators have regular refresher opportunities where they can share updates, receive information and address updates as they are in the process of helping people in their communities.”

Carney said navigators must learn strenuous regulations about keeping information private, and portrayed the committee investigation as attacking all navigators.

“When Republicans attack navigators, they’re attacking folks like the University of Arkansas, the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, the Visiting Nurse Service of Iowa, Ascension Health, the Ohio Association of Food Banks, and the National Urban League,” Carney said. “These are just a few of the organizations that actually hire and supervise these navigators. These are people who are actually engaging in an effort to help Americans who want health insurance to get it. So, you know, I think it’s pretty evident on scrutiny, that this is an effort in a partisan way to sabotage the Affordable Care Act that’s part of a long line of efforts.”

It’s true that the head of the Oversight Committee is a Republican and it’s true that the most ardent opposition to the president’s signature legislation has come from conservatives and libertarians. It is not true that scrutiny has been entirely partisan. Nor should the scrutiny be dismissed.

With enrollment numbers so low with less than a week before the December 23 enrollment deadline, Enroll America and their foot soldiers are going to great lengths.  And they are getting more reinforcements next year.

Too bad the emphasis has been on results with no regard to how they are achieved and who is achieving them. We’ve raised the security concerns about the no background checks and lax recruitment, training and oversight of these ObamaCare enrollment counselors and their assistants. Our concerns were confirmed when we saw videos of navigators encouraging applicants to defraud the government.

At least someone in Washington is taking seriously the security and fraud risks that ill-vetted and ill-equipped navigators pose to Americans and the American government.

Carney says navigators get 20 hours of training. How does that match up against the certifications and experience that private healthcare providers require of those who serve similar roles? It doesn’t. This is a concern that attorneys general across the country raised in a letter Kathleen Sebelius over the summer along with a host of other issues with navigators.  I guess that letter is buried under healthcare.gov progress reports on her desk.

The White House must think we’re stupid. We know the difference between attacking credible organizations versus exposing the misbehavior of government agents and the widespread dysfunction behind the process that creates them. This defensive response does nothing to inspire trust in the Administration, but underscores that they were ill-prepared to execute this sweeping (overreaching) legislation and still continue to be.

 

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus