The Truth About Navigators

John Fund, National Review Online, November 11, 213

James O’Keefe, the guerrilla videographer who helped bring down ACORN (the “community organizing” group that Barack Obama worked for as a lawyer and trainer) and got NPR’s president fired, is back.

This time, his undercover investigators focused on Obamacare’s “navigators,” the nearly 50,000 people who, in the words of the Department of Health and Human Services, “will serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans” on the Obamacare exchanges (at least when they’re finally working). The total value of grants doled out for nonprofits and community organizations to hire navigators has topped $67 million nationwide, and some of the money is going to a group run by ACORN’s highly controversial founder.

The events of O’Keefe’s video of a Texas navigator site run by the National Urban League are a familiar sight to viewers of his past efforts exposing Medicaid and voter fraud. Government-paid workers supposedly trained to uphold the law advise clients on how to lie on government forms, evade legal requirements, and ignore proper procedures.

“You lie because your premiums will be higher,” one navigator advises an investigator for O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, who tells the worker he sometimes smokes. “Don’t tell them that. Don’t tell ’em.”

The investigator then poses as a low-income worker at a university who has unreported cash income on the side, worrying about how that might affect his premium subsidies. That’s no problem for a navigator, who says, “Don’t get yourself in trouble by declaring it now.”

“Yeah, it didn’t happen,” another navigator says. One more chimes in: “Never report it.”

Records show that the National Urban League was paid $376,000 by the federal government for its Obamacare outreach in Texas.

O’Keefe’s cameras then visit Enroll America, a nationwide nonprofit group that has launched a multi-state grassroots campaign to help millions of Americans sign up for health coverage. {snip}


There’s much more in the video, which O’Keefe hints will not be his last. Left unexplored is how so many navigators nationwide were hired without any background checks required. While Texas and some other states have passed requirements of their own, the absence of such checks at the federal level was acknowledged by HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week. She was asked by Texas senator John Cornyn if “a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them.”

“It’s possible,” was Secretary Sebelius’s less-than-comforting reply.


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