House Lawmakers Grill CMS Over Health Exchange Navigators

Margaret Dick Tocknell, May 22, 2013

The role of navigators, expected to help millions of uninsured make their way through the health insurance market, came under fire Tuesday by members of Congress who raised questions about oversight and the role of the IRS in the implementation of healthcare reform.

A meeting of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform called ostensibly to discuss the role that navigators and assistors will play in the enrollment process for new health insurance marketplaces included statements and questions about role the IRS is expected to play in the implementation of healthcare reform.

See Also: What About the Insurance Exchanges?

The meeting veered further off topic into concerns over the fundraising efforts of Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs, set the Republican tone in his opening comments. "In light of the revelations of the IRS targeting conservative groups… it is crucial for the American people to understand that Obamacare tasks the IRS with enforcing nearly 20 new tax laws. That's amazing to me. The very organization charged with enforcing Obamacare was systematically targeting conservative groups that came into existence because they oppose Obamacare."

Jordan stated that the IRS role in enforcing Obamacare is tied to the navigator and assistor program through the premium subsidies that will be available to qualified individuals. "If [they] incorrectly fill out a person's health insurance application, and that person receives subsidies to which they are not entitled, then the IRS will go after the individual."

Margaret Dick Tocknell Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.


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