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Black Demands Accountability on Obamacare Navigator Program

Aug 7, 2013 Issues: Health

Washington – Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius expressing concerns over the agency’s recent decision to reduce training requirements for Navigator staff from 30 to 20 hours.

“Given that federally funded Navigators will soon interact with the public to articulate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), reducing training requirements by 33 percent appears irresponsible. 

“To date, the American people—as well as health care experts—have expressed serious concerns with the enormous changes our nation’s health care system is about to undergo as a result of the 2,700 page health care law.  It is my strongly held belief that the ACA is unworkable.  Three years after enactment, your Department has yet to take action to ensure that Americans will be able to access accurate and trustworthy information regarding the ACA, or keep their current health care plan.

“As the law stipulates, Navigators are the individuals designated to communicate the law to the public, provide education on the health plans, and enroll Americans onto the government-run health care Exchanges.  Given this daunting responsibility, taking time to ensure that Navigators are thoroughly trained is fundamental.  Proper training of staff is the cornerstone of ensuring any program will be effective.  In the healthcare sector, training hours are an integral component to readiness, effectiveness, quality, and care,” Congressman Black wrote.

To read the letter in full as well as the information requested from HHS by Congressman Black, click here.

Background: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is expected to spend as much as $54 million to fund the Affordable Care Act’s Navigator program. Navigators will help consumers shop for insurance coverage on the Obamacare exchanges and not be required to undergo background checks or have prior health care experience, despite having access to Social Security numbers, income and assets, and private medical information.

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Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. She has been a registered nurse for more than 40 years and serves on the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees.