Dallas-Area Obamacare Navigators Caught on Undercover Video Encouraging Fraud

As President Barack Obama was praising Obamacare volunteers at Dallas' Temple Emanu-El last week, conservative activist James O'Keefe was plotting a visit of his own.

O'Keefe, whose video stings have successfully taken down the community group ACORN and an NPR executive, had members of his Project Veritas team visit local Obamacare navigators to sign up for health insurance.

The resulting video, a 10-minute clip introduced with a bizarre montage of O'Keefe decked out in cowboy gear ordering a cranberry juice at an old West saloon, has been greeted as another triumph for O'Keefe for exposing Obamacare navigators encouraging fraud.

And the footage does show that. At the National Urban League of Greater Dallas' Lancaster Road headquarters, a worker warns the undercover activist not to report the cash he makes working odd jobs on the side, since he didn't report it in his tax filings. At the organization's community center in Irving, a couple of others say he shouldn't disclose his smoking habit.

"You lie because your premiums will be higher," she says. "I always lie on mine."

The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday evening that the Urban League of Greater Dallas has taken "immediate steps" in response to the video, including the suspension of three navigators-in-training and the termination of a woman recently hired to be a receptionist. The organization received less than four percent of the $10.9 million in federal grants distributed to insurance navigators in Texas.

That's done little to assure Republicans like Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who called for the end of the navigator program, or Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose response boils down to "I told you so."

The knee-jerk liberal response to O'Keefe's videos -- that he is a sleazeball who selectively edits his footage to make it appear more damning than it is -- does little to justify the actions of the navigators. But these cases are anecdotal and point less to another systemic failure of Obamacare than to the fact that some level of fraud is inevitable in any large operation. The best thing to do is foot it out and move on.


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135 comments
ruddski
ruddski

Now we see that Obama is going to unilaterally run the whole show, bypassing the democratic process. We' ll probably get daily updates, detailing der fuhrer's latest decree.

This is good news, Obama is cutting out the bullshit, like Hugo and Fidel did. The left is growing closer to the dictatorship they long for. Viva Obama!

NotReallyThanks
NotReallyThanks

Black government agents never lie to steal more money from the government. Ever. 

lolotehe
lolotehe

James O'Keefe made a video and someone's taking it seriously?

ruddski
ruddski

Colorado's hip and edgy pitch urging kids to purchase something the law requires them to purchase boils down to "thanks to Obamacare, we can fuck!"

Won't work. Even the public school kids know the fine is cheaper than the insurance, and when they get their expected super-expensive disease, THAT'S when you buy the insurance - you can't be turned away.

wcvemail
wcvemail

Meanwhile, all of us are overlooking the historic origin of Obamacare itself. Remember when many/most Americans were paying much more than any other country's citizens for inferior health care outcomes. Remember when hospital emergency rooms were used by non-insured citizens and non-citizens alike for untreated conditions, and even routine treatment. Remember when bipartisan politicians repeatedly exempted Big Pharma from price negotiations for pills bought by the existing gov't-funded programs (Medicaid, Medicare), which left us the insured with even fewer right to demand cost accountability. 

Remember that? Where's the outrage about the decades of these unfairnesses and inefficiencies? Not here.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Overwrought Obama-haters are bouncing around in a paroxysm of self-delusion and emotional overload while the healthcare website is being de-bugged.  Because the website was not ready on October 1, the republicans immediately proclaimed that Obamacare is a failure, ignoring the fact that the ACA is not even in effect yet, and that, as anything else newly introduced, will take "fixes", updates, and amendments to get where it needs to go. 

Threeboys
Threeboys

"The knee-jerk liberal response to O'Keefe's videos--that he is a sleazeball who selectively edits his footage to make it appear more damning than it is"

Like every single news organization.

James080
James080

Of course, there is the real possibility that Obamacare was designed to collapse under the strain of incompetence and fraud. The president has been a strong advocate of a single payer heath care system since he entered politics. You can google his speeches if you need proof. Once millions of people lose their existing coverage under Obamacare, and millions more are grandfathered for their preexisting conditions under policies paid for or heavily subsidized by the government, a total collapse of the insurance exchanges will likely result in an Executive Order requiring a total federal take over of the entire health care system.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ruddski 

over the top, even for you and you proclivity for absurdity.

you bitch and moan about his failure to deliver on his assurances, then when he owns up you bitch and moan about his taking responsibility. nothing like showing your consistency.....

conflating a facist "der fuhrer's..decree" with a communist "Hugo and Fidel". surprising you didn't toss in some Mao, Stalin and sprinkle it with some Pinochet and Peron for spice.

good grief. what a clown you are.

ruddski
ruddski

Correction - the ads are part of the HHS collection. They were attacked by PPVC (Planned Parenthood votes Colorado) as "slut shaming", believing they were satire produced by fascists... Err... Opponents of Obamacare.

Hopefully, Barack can see the comedy in all this.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@wcvemail Also, the whole idea of Obamacare originated with the conservative Heritage Foundation and was pushed by the republicans until Obama made it law. 

observist
observist topcommenter

@James080  I think you're giving Obama's long game too much credit.  I don't think any president would put so much political capital into something that was just a feint to allow an even bigger change that would have to be carried out by a later administration. 

dallas_dude
dallas_dude

That would be excellent.  Imagine your health insurance having nothing to do w/ your employer.  What a novel concept.

ruddski
ruddski

Does that justify fraud and incompetence?

ruddski
ruddski

The Titanic just needed s little metal work.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@MaxNoDifference I disagree.  Failure in the private sector usually means millions in bonuses paid out to incompetent CEOs who wreck their companies, e.g., $66 million paid out to Lehmann's Dick Fuld.

NotReallyThanks
NotReallyThanks

@dallas_dude You know.. you can(or could rather) buy insurance yourself rather than a group policy through an employer?

James080
James080

@dallas_dude  

Mine is not through my employer. So far, the government has not forced my insurer to cancel my plan. You may want to receive your healthcare from the government, I don't.

 

Threeboys
Threeboys

@dallas_dude I certainly don't want my health care having anything to do with my government!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@dallas_dude at this point, I have better less expensive coverage through my employer than anything on the exchange that is even offered, so no, it wouldn't be excellent

dallas_dude
dallas_dude

About 150 million americans filed tax returns in 2012. 

Give me a minute b/c I'm really bad at math....that would mean 15 million americans ADMIT cheating on their taxes.  Please look up the word astonishingly.

I have no idea what the hell that poll has to do w/ tax cheats.  Are you saying everyone does it?  Are you saying it's not a bid deal?  Wasn't that my original point?

dallas_dude
dallas_dude

Nope.  Never ever ever.  Down to the last  penny.  Just like everybody else.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @wcvemail That sound you heard? That was the cluetrain passing you by as you were attempting to justify this massive failure of implementation by alluding to vague, past workplace unfairnesses. Really, sometimes you're just arguing and dredging up half-assed but thoroughly irrelevant rebuttals out of force of habit, aren't you? And that's a rhetorical question, as I'm outta here. Fire away, anyway.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@wcvemail  I think you're indeed blessed to work for a company of irrefutable probity, unimpeachable integrity, and impeccable honor.


Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@wcvemail  I always worked in the private sector, and I witnessed quite a bit of lying, deception, unfair promotions, nepotism, hypocrisy, and criminal behavior that was not punished, but rather, rewarded.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Granted, but those companies weren't actually making anything, whether websites or cars or anything in between. Those overwrought (different but accurate meaning) firms allowed their CEOs to create their own golden parachutes. In the world of production and management of production, failures like these posturing bureaucrats and insider contractors are escorted out by security, forthwith. That's the world in which I and most productive worker bees live.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@James080

all I see is the remark "Imagine your health insurance having nothing to do w/ your employer".

it's not an either from the government or from the employer and no other way proposition...

James080
James080

@mavdog @James080 You didn't read the thread. The ACA only regulates health insurance. Dallas_dude seems to prefer government run healthcare.  I don't.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@James080 

the ACA does not provide healthcare "from the government"....

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@dallas_dude @everlastingphelps  Govt is a thing we have to live beside, its the part we don't get a say in when we are born - we don't have to rely on its every little thing. That called choice.

So abiding by its rules and regulations is not "turning over everything" to the govt. My kids eat, because I feed them, my kids go to private school, because I pay for them, mine and my kids security is mostly up to me, I need to protect them and myself, and educate them about protecting themselves from as simple as crossing the road, talking to strangers and yet showing compassion, the police are called because they are "peace officers of the law" and I am required to inform them of any law that may be or about to broken.....lucky for me, I use the same laws as the politicians to make sure the market and financial rules and regulations work for me and for that, I'm thankful, because if you know them and don't rely on them, its a lot easier to send your kids to private school.

The govt is there now, so people don't have to be accountable, think or take responsibility. Something George Washington informed everyone of in his farewell speech to the people.

dallas_dude
dallas_dude

I notice you say "will go to" and not "they go to".  Everyone talks a big talk.  You checked out private school tuition lately?  If you have anywhere near the 10-15k in tuition to send ONE kid to private school you certainly wouldn't be wasting time posting on to here.  Home school...ok, you qualified to do that?  Your wife going to quit her job to do that?  You going to quit your job?

Your finances are regulated by big government and insured by the FDIC.  The set interest rates and regulate the market. 

You take security into your own hands huh?  Ok Rambo.  I'm sure when shit goes down you don't call 911.  Please man.  If you didn't rely on government you would be out living in some mountain surrounded by no body and nothing. 

You're like some grounded 13 year old teenage girl crying that she doesn't need her parents.  All talk.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @dallas_dude This one I have to take exception to.

My kids education isn't turned over to the government.  My kids will go to private school or be homeschooled.  The end.  Public school is tantamount to child abuse at this point.

My security is not turned over to the government.  I have guns for a reason.  I have a security system for a reason.  I stay in shape for a reason, and that's because my security and my family's security is my responsibility.

My financial well being is not turned over to the government.  They might "control" it, but I evade that control at every opportunity.  I have skills.  I invest in things that can be traded outside the government markets.  

I rely on government for nothing, because government is inherently unreliable.  It's nice when it works well.  You would be a fool to expect that to be the rule rather than the exception.

dallas_dude
dallas_dude

That's funny...Your kids education is turned over to the government.  Your security is turned over to the government.  Your fiancial well being is controlled by the government.

I can see how having your employer whose only real objective is to maximize profits would be better suited to be in control of your families health.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @dallas_dude 

employer provided health coverage is not a viable platform, it has been dying out for a couple of decades. part of the reason is the rising costs of the coverage, and the fact that business is shifting that cost. Workers are also much more mobile, and are increasingly seen as temporary than long term.

the format came about because of how business is given tax benefits for the premiums they pay for the employee. it has unfortunately produced a disconnect in the actual costs.

people clearly like to attack the ACA, but at the same time what is their proposal to address the structural problems with our current healthcare delivery structure?

there's silence.....

observist
observist topcommenter

@MaxNoDifference @observist @ScottsMerkin @dallas_dude  That might be the immediate short term effect, but employers would still have to compete for employees - who would be demanding more money to cover their health insurance costs.  It would probably only take 2-3 years for wages to recover the losses of health insurance premiums.

Basically I agree with Phelps on this, only without all the insults.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @MaxNoDifference @observist @ScottsMerkin @dallas_dude Most employers would pocket the savings and not channel the savings into wages.

That's fine.  That means that there are competitors with the same savings, who will channel those savings into wages to lure me away from the first guy.  Either way, I'm getting the money through competition.

I guess if you don't really have any salable skills and are lucky to just have a job, you can think that way, but those of us with skills that are in demand will get the money from one guy or the other.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@MaxNoDifference @observist @ScottsMerkin @dallas_dude exactly, health insurance is a nice excuse, except they are passing more and more on to the employee, and now that the exchange rates are out there, I bet more and more companies pass on even more costs, knowing itll be less than the exchange but more than they do now

observist
observist topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @dallas_dude   Much of the wage stagnation in the past ~20 years is because employers are paying ever-increasing health insurance premiums.  If health insurance were divorced from employment, wages would almost certainly increase to offset the additional out-of-pocket expense to individuals.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@everlastingphelps

"illegal immigrants who by definition have to cheat on their taxes".

the data is how many filers cheat on their returns. illegal immigrants don't file income tax returns.

complete and total failure on your part.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @dallas_dude I'll help you with the math, some.  There's 11 million illegal immigrants, who by definition have to cheat on their taxes.  (There's no legal way for them to report income. Some of it is overpayment because they should get a refund for withholding but can't.)  

So we are really talking about 4 million.  4 million is an insignificant number of Americans, according to the president, so tax evasion isn't worth worrying about, right?

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