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The healthcare battle over navigators

Philly.com / The Center for Public Integrity, August 12, 2013

Early in the summer of 2009, when lawmakers were starting work on what would become the largest health care overhaul in decades, the industry associations that represent insurance agents and brokers caught wind of an obscure provision. The plan called for state and federal governments to hire so-called "navigators" — members of social service organizations or advocacy groups — to help people use the new online marketplaces created by the law to choose among insurance plans and enroll in coverage. The navigator program garnered little attention in the midst of the larger legislative battle. But agents and brokers, worried that navigators would cut into their business, immediately took aim, labeling the initiative "reckless."