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House Lawmakers Grill CMS Over Health Exchange Navigators

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, May 22, 2013

"I'm a dentist and I don't see how 20 hours of training will get this done. That's inadequate. What are the checks and balances on the education component?" asked Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). "Is someone visiting with that navigator or is [the training] all online? What stops a convicted felon from becoming a navigator?"

"It's online just as it is in many states for insurance agents and brokers," responded Cohen. "If you look at the type of organizations that will apply for these grants I don't think felons will be a problem."

In his final comment Rep. Jim Jordan again turned his attention to the IRS. "The American people want to know what role the IRS will play in their healthcare and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As an American, does the IRS role in this scandal trouble you?

"The IRS has a significant role in enforcing tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but there's more to the ACA than just tax questions" noted Cohen. He added that he didn't see a connection between the navigator programs and the IRS monitoring conservative groups.

Concerns about Sebelius's fundraising
Rep. Lankford (R-OK) then turned to media reports that Secretary Sebelius is soliciting funding for the assistor program from health plans, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to donate to nonprofits responsible for outreach efforts. "These actions unduly pressure private companies to financially support implementation and promotion efforts. Fearing HHS retribution if they don't contribute. The secretary must stop using unethical methods to fund the law's implementation."

"I have no knowledge of her calls," responded Cohen. He added that public-private partnerships are often used to help fund projects.


Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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2 comments on "House Lawmakers Grill CMS Over Health Exchange Navigators"


ibjim (5/24/2013 at 6:56 PM)
The process for signing up for healthcare insurance under Obamacare will be greatly simplified. The exchanges are set up to compare apples to apples, etc, much different than today's complex health insurance offerings. You should look at some of the sample marketplace exchanges that are in demonstration mode already around the country - the Kaiser Foundation, Cover Oregon, Washington Health Exchange, etc. Put in your information, decide your level of coverage, choose your plan, sign up, pay the first premium, presto, you're done.

Rod Humphrey (5/22/2013 at 2:07 PM)
I feel as though the only ones that should be able to be properly skilled enough would be currently Licensed Health Agents, as they not only have 24 Hours of Continuing education requirements Yearly, but have local basic market knowledge to know which products would be best for each and every individual, whereas churches and non profits have very little expertise in this arena, and even 20 hours of training, isn't going to be any even be enough to scratch the surface of the knowledge level required especially since many states have opted out of their own State sponsored Exchanges as Pennsylvania has for example, and no guidance is yet available as of this date for the Federal exchanges availability as of yet either! Let the Pros handle it, they're already licensed!!!! Felons are not allowed to be licensed in any state to my knowledge, so that would take care of that, and there is oversight of licensed agents already in place via the appropriate states!