SPRINGFIELD - While Illinois AG Lisa Madigan chose not to sign onto a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary from 13 of her fellow attorneys general about the qualifications and background checks on the new Obamacare "navigators," AP reported Wednesday that Illinois is building an 800-person army of temporary workers to help people sign up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The "in-person counselor" jobs, located in every corner of the state, range from a $9-an-hour part-time evening job in Clinton County to a $45,000-a-year project coordinator position in Chicago for someone with experience in community organizing and public speaking.
The workers will help consumers apply for coverage, and will answer questions and explain differences between the insurance policies offered on the new online marketplace. They will help consumers figure out if they're eligible for Medicaid or for new tax credits that will help many people pay for coverage.
In Illinois, 44 community organizations received grants to run in-person counselor programs. In addition, 11 groups were named last week by the federal government to operate Navigator programs in Illinois. Navigators and in-person counselors are essentially the same, but have different funding sources.
The grantee organizations can set their own standards, including educational requirements, for in-person counselors. In Springfield, Family Guidance Centers Inc. is looking for six people with high school diplomas or GEDs who will make $12 to $14.42 hourly.
What are the education requirements and criminal background checks for these Obamacare jobs being set by each grantee organization? Will these new jobs add to AFSCME and SEIU ranks in Illinois?
Why isn't AG Madigan as concerned about these issues as the AGs in 13 other states?
There's much more to learn about this swiftly moving program in Illinois - questions not covered in Wednesday's preliminary AP story.