Request for Navigator Info an Impediment

Margaret Dick Tocknell, 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."

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