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Request for Navigator Info an Impediment

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, September 4, 2013

Under the guise of better "understanding the work" health insurance exchange navigators will perform, a request from some GOP members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee carries the whiff of political motivation.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee is turning up the heat on one of its favorite targets—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. With defunding healthcare reform now an unlikely outcome, E&C has turned its attention to the counselors expected to help the uninsured navigate their way through the health insurance exchanges expected to begin operating in less than one month.

Last week 15 Republican members of the committee signed letters to 51 of the 105 organizations recently named as navigators for the public HIX. The letters demand that the organizations provide extensive information about how their navigator grants will be used, the budget for the grants, employee training, employee supervision, and what safeguards will be in place to protect personal information.

That all sounds quite reasonable on the surface. But the request for information carries the whiff of political motivation.

Under the guise of "understanding the work" the navigators will perform, the letter also asks for "a written description of whether your organization may contact individuals who have utilized you services as a navigator for... fundraising, voter registration efforts, or campaign activities."

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2 comments on "Request for Navigator Info an Impediment"


Steve Sisko (9/5/2013 at 2:45 PM)
I'm not supportive of GOP efforts to repeal the ACA. I think the law's fate will evolve accordingly based on its true value and "popular opinion" over the next couple years. Based on polls, all the delays, changes and waivers already made and current, real world experience getting these exchanges off the ground, I don't think the GOP needs to get involved with trying to alter anything; change is apparently happening without any help needed from the GOP. But I'm totally supportive of the GOP effort to understand the role and boundaries of Navigators. I think most people believe that fFundraising, voter registration efforts, and or campaign activities should NOT be part of the ACA. If this need for clarity is 'political posturing," then the author is wrong that those on both sides of the PPACA are "tired of this political posturing." I'm not.

Mickey Duke (9/4/2013 at 2:00 PM)
Don't be so politically naive as to think that the role of navigators is to simplistically 'help' would-be insureds, and that there will not be any 'problems ' arising from inexperienced and (likely woefully) under-trainer so-called navigators. I'm sorry, but this aspect of the in-Affordable Care Act is quite problematic.