With Obamacare Navigators, it's Caveat Emptor
James O'Keefe, the guerrilla videographer who has laid low liberal icons like ACORN and NPR, has turned his candid camera techniques on the Obamacare navigators. According to HHS, the navigators "will serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans" on the Obamacare exchanges."
In actuality, they are a disaster waiting to happen, as John Fund reports on O'Keefe's investigation:
The events of O'Keefe's video of a Texas navigator site run by the National Urban League are a familiar sight to viewers of his past efforts exposing Medicaid and voter fraud. Government-paid workers supposedly trained to uphold the law advise clients on how to lie on government forms, evade legal requirements, and ignore proper procedures.
"You lie because your premiums will be higher," one navigator advises an investigator for O'Keefe's Project Veritas, who tells the worker he sometimes smokes. "Don't tell them that. Don't tell 'em."
The investigator then poses as a low-income worker at a university who has unreported cash income on the side, worrying about how that might affect his premium subsidies. That's no problem for a navigator, who says, "Don't get yourself in trouble by declaring it now."
"Yeah, it didn't happen," another navigator says. One more chimes in: "Never report it."
Records show that the National Urban League was paid $376,000 by the federal government for its Obamacare outreach in Texas.
O'Keefe's cameras then visit Enroll America, a nationwide nonprofit group that has launched a multi-state grassroots campaign to help millions of Americans sign up for health coverage. Daniel Clayton of Enroll America says the group is "purely nonprofit. It's not partisan, non-political." But when Brian Pendleton of Enroll America is introduced at a speaking engagement, Enroll America is described as "the official group for the DNC [Democratic National Committee]."
Enroll America, O'Keefe reports, appears to be sharing data and working directly with an explicitly political group called Battleground Texas, activities that he notes "are prohibited unless certain conditions are met." Adrian Bell, the regional field director for Battleground Texas, proudly notes the group was "started by President Obama's national field director" and is "dedicated to turning Texas blue."
There's much more in the video, which O'Keefe hints will not be his last. Left unexplored is how so many navigators nationwide were hired without any background checks required. While Texas and some other states have passed requirements of their own, the absence of such checks at the federal level was acknowledged by HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week. She was asked by Texas senator John Cornyn if "a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them."
"It's possible," was Secretary Sebelius's less-than-comforting reply.
How much worse can it get? Plenty, says GOP consultant Ed Rogers:
If you liked ACORN, you'll love the Obamacare Navigators. I'm sure there will be good, sincere people who really want to help people navigate the Obamacare maze. But there will be enough bad apples employed as navigators to supply plenty of scary anecdotes and weird encounters that will result in a steady ridicule of the overall program. And there will no doubt be activists with hidden cameras ready to capture a few creepy and outrageous encounters that will grab everybody's attention and make voters even more skeptical of Obamacare.
Fund nails it with his summation:
The law's problems are coming from more sides than a pentadecagon. But one of the most serious things undermining its credibility is the Obama administraion's seemingly complete indifference to corruption within one of the key groups tasked with its implementation. We'll have to see just how much worse it gets.
The word "indifference" leaps out at you. It sums up the Obama administration's attitude toward all the problems associated with the roll out - except maybe the website troubles because it's so vital to the success of the program and is the most visible manifestation of Obamacare.
But those who lose insurance? Or can't visit their doctor? Or have a sky high deductible, or have seen their premiums double? Tough it out, America, whatever happens is better for you in the long run.
That's their story and they're sticking with it.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky