Contact: Charles Siler
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: STATE LAWMAKERS IN SEVERAL STATES CRACKING DOWN ON CRIMINAL OBAMACARE NAVIGATORS
One Navigator group received millions in federal dollars despite committing fraud under previous grant
Amidst reports that currently employed Obamacare navigators in multiple states (including California and New Mexico) have criminal rap sheets, lawmakers elsewhere have taken steps to crack down on would-be criminals working as navigators in their states. While the federal government and other implementers of Obamacare have shown no qualms about allowing convicted criminals to handle Americans’ private and sensitive information as navigators in both state and federal exchanges, state lawmakers in Virginia, Colorado and Arizona have responded contrastingly: Enough is enough.
The Virginia State Senate cleared a reform last week to crack down on potential abuse with a unanimous vote—that bill is now before the Virginia State House. Members of an Arizona State House committee also approved the legislation Tuesday. Colorado lawmakers are expected to take up the issue in committee on Thursday.
The legislation, which continues to be introduced in additional states as reports of Obamacare navigator incidents grow, would require background checks for anyone applying for a job as a navigator. The reform would also prohibit individuals with felony convictions and misdemeanor fraud or dishonesty convictions from becoming navigators, and it includes provisions for reporting and penalties should a privacy violation occur, empowering state authorities to revoke Obamacare navigator licenses for releasing or misusing 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 Christina Corieri, Goldwater Institute health care policy analyst who worked with lawmakers to draft the legislation. "It’s now the duty of state lawmakers to forge their own protections for citizens.”
Over 120 “navigator” grants have been issued in 34 states, and the list of recipients is a veritable “who’s who” of the left-wing political machine. The list includes groups with ACORN-ties like Southern United Neighborhoods, and the Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation, which 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,” added Corieri. “Once again, the federal government plays favorites with our tax dollars, but even worse in this case, it’s putting Americans’ private information at risk.”
In Colorado, where navigator grant recipients have made waves for racy recruitment efforts encouraging young people to engage in high-risk behavior, one physician lawmaker says safeguards must be put into place that treats people’s sensitive health information with more gravitas.
“Having worked as a doctor for over 30 years, I believe that patient privacy is of paramount importance,” said Rep. Janak Joshi (R-Colo.). “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.”
To schedule an interview please contact Charles Siler with the Goldwater Institute at (602) 633-8960 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Goldwater Institute has an in-house VideoLink studio for rapid cable hook-up if needed.