CHICAGO - As more is learned about Obamacare implementation, attorneys general in 13 states are raising questions about who the program's "navigators" will be, how they will handle high-level private information in the Obamacare data base, and to whom they'll be accountable on a day-to-day basis.
Despite being vocal about consumer privacy issues in the past, Illinois' Attorney General Lisa Madigan is not one of the AGs asking Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius about the system's tens of thousands of navigators being hired and trained in time for Obamacare's October 1 unveiling.
A "navigator" is a federal employee that helps those wanting to get insured navigate the paperwork of the new health care system. The Obama Administration is lifting in-depth background checks in their hurry to implement Obamacare, and that's a major concern for one of the 13 letter signers, Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida.
“What if they've been convicted of committing identity theft or grand theft before?” asked Bondi. “They could potentially still become a navigator.”
The letter organizer, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, said he and his colleagues are concerned that the navigators will be inadequately trained and won’t have appropriate standards to ensure that the consumer’s privacy is protected, especially since a recent HHS announcement said they were cutting back on training to meet the quickly approaching deadlines.
“What the administration has done with respect to navigators is that they’ve cut back on the training requirements for these individuals from 30 to about 20 hours, and they haven’t given them an adequate amount of standards," Morrisey said on a Fox News interview this week. "So, what that … tells me is that we’re going to be vulnerable to massive instances of identity theft across the country. Because these navigators are going to have access to some of the most personal and sensitive information that consumers have."
The navigators may have access to social security numbers, tax returns, and medical history.
Combine all that access to personal information and the lack of background checks with some of the organizations that the Obamacare funds are being paid out to in order to attract persons to act as Obamacare navigators. The HHS announced last week that $655,000 will be going to Planned Parenthood to help consumers navigate their insurance options under ObamaCare.
And that's just for three affiliates based in Iowa, Montana and New Hampshire to participate in the "navigator" program, alongside disease groups, universities and Catholic health agencies, The Hill reported.
Illinois is not among the states that queried Sebelius, which included West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
The letter is HERE.