Speaking to reporters today at the White House, Press Secretary Jay Carney decried the scrutiny of Obamacare navigators as Republican talking points designed to sabotage the President's healthcare law. Carney's comments came in response to a question about a new Oversight Committee Report showing the Obamacare navigator program is marred by mismanagement and confusion.
Further, Carney fully defended navigators as people simply trying to get the uninsured signed up for health insurance through the exchanges.
During testimony before Congress in November, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted under oath convicted felons could be hired as Obamacare navigators handling sensitive personal information of people signing up.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted Wednesday that it was possible convicted felons could be hired as ObamaCare ‘navigators,’ giving them access to personal information like Social Security numbers and addresses of anyone signing up for the program.
Sebelius made the admission in an exchange with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas., during a Senate Finance Committee hearing. It was the second time in a week Sebelius was on Capitol Hill, forced to defend the problem-plagued ObamaCare website.
“Isn’t it true that there is no federal requirement for navigators to undergo a criminal background check,” Cornyn asked her.
“That is true,” Sebelius answered. “States could add in additional background checks and other features, but it is not part of the federal requirement.”
Cornyn pressed, “So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them?”
Sebelius answered, “This is possible.”
Further, an undercover investigation conducted by Project Veritas revealed Obamacare navigators urging enrollees to be defraud the government by lying on application forms about income in order to receive a larger subsidy.
Another report shows many navigator positions are being filled by former ACORN employees. ACORN was stripped of federal funding and dissolved in 2009 after another Project Veritas investigation showed the group was involved in encouraging tax fraud, voter fraud, illegal human trafficking and sex trafficking of minors into the United States.
A group formed from the ruins of ACORN is hard at work signing people up for ObamaCare, and may be collecting taxpayer cash for their work despite Congress' efforts to cut the organization and its affiliates off from government funding, a watchdog group charged.
The United Labor Unions Council Local 100, a New Orleans-based nonprofit, announced last month it would take part in a multi-state "navigator" drive to help people enroll in President Obama's health care plan. The labor council was established by ACORN founder Wade Rathke after his larger group was broken up amid scandal in 2009 and banned from receiving taxpayer funds.
The government has given out $67 million in Navigator grants to help with the controversial rollout of ObamaCare. It was not clear if Local 100 got a grant of its own, but it has set up a help center with Southern United Neighborhoods, a charity founded in March 2010 with many former ACORN members, to enroll people in ObamaCare. Southern United Neighborhoods received a Navigator grant of $486,123.
Incidents of fraud and concerns about who these "navigators" really are should be taken very seriously, but the White House is instead portraying the questioning of the navigator program as Obamacare "sabotage" from Republicans.