Texas' Proposed Background Check Rule for Obamacare Navigators Looks Awfully Familiar

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Office of the Governor
At the request of Governor Rick Perry, the Texas Department of Insurance rolled out an additional set of requirements Obamacare "navigators" will be subject to. On top of the training and certification the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandates, TDI will require an additional 40 hours of continuing education.

The navigators, who have been trained to assist Texans with things like determining voucher amounts or submitting applications over the phone, via mail or online, will also be fingerprinted and undergo criminal background checks under TDI's proposed rules unveiled Tuesday.

A statement from Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst said the state must be "on guard against the continuing missteps of the Obama Administration." It's all about protecting Texans, he says. Of course, in a state that considers Obamacare, in the words of Dewhurst, an "encroachment on the individual liberties of Texans," it isn't difficult to see the rules as obstructionist. After all, Texas, which boasts the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, opted not to expand Medicaid and thumbed its nose instead at President Obama and billions of federal dollars.

Texas is by no means alone in heaping additional requirements on navigators. There are at least a dozen other states requiring background checks and hours of additional education. The similarities are often striking, causing one to wonder whether there isn't some coordinated campaign of obstruction afoot. Then The Guardian got its mitts on some documents. Wonders cease.

Here's a list of proposed legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council, (ALEC) an organization that laughably bills itself as a nonprofit. ALEC brings lawmakers and business interests to a common table, often resulting in spasms of identical legislative activity across the country. It's brought us such smash hits as the Stand Your Ground Law of Trayvon Martin fame, and state initiatives to ramp up the incarceration of undocumented immigrants for the benefit of private prison contractors.

Now it's taking on Obamacare. For example, just insert the name of your state, the state department of insurance and the name of a legislator and you've got a ready-made bill titled the "Navigator Background Check Act." Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, to name a few, all have adopted ALEC's model. Texas is about to join the crowd.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the organization that produced "The State Legislators Guide to Repealing Obamacare" is simply offering some good-faith suggestions to protect consumers and improve the healthcare law.

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37 comments
chuck.isner
chuck.isner

Actually, James_the_P3, I suspect he's referring to the profit motive of ALEC, designing laws that will enable a few wealthy people to get even wealthier at the expense of the public, as exemplified by the privatizing of prisons.  This has led to a boom for those firms, and laws have been created to ensure they will remain full.  I am 67 years old and recall being taught how bad communism was. One of the things we were taught to make the point was the high percentage of people incarcerated in the USSR.  Today, the US leads every industrialized nation in the world in the percentage of citizens incarcerated.  Have we degenerated that far in the past 5 or 6 decades?  Or could it be one more example of what the profit motive can do to destroy a society?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to profits, but there are things that are best left to public administration,  I know that flies in the face of everything the Tea Party wants us to believe, but it is true.


James_the_P3
James_the_P3

Is the American Legislative Exchange Council turning a profit that has heretofore been undisclosed?  Is the IRS once again leaking information about the administration's political enemies to friendly sources?  Or is Mr. Hargrove once again dissembling when he characterizes ALEC's nonprofit status as "laughable"?

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Let's put the whole Lege thru that process.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

My neighbor sailed through the online enrollment site on Sunday.  She's now waiting for a confirmation from the carrier and instructions for payment.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

This TX legislative bill was voted in and signed into law on June 14, 2013.  HHS did not submit any standards or policy guidelines for navigators until after this bill was submitted to the Leg.  At the time the bill was signed into TX law, HHS still had not adopted any guidelines for navigators.

So, by doing a little (5 min) research, we find that not only are you just reprinting someone else's work, but the assertions you make doing so are completely off base.  The TX law wasn't submitted to thwart ACA, rather it was submitted because HHS failed to implement, or even adopt, such prudent policies at the Federal level.  Perhaps you are ok with handing your social security number, financial and family information off to someone who you don't know, won't ever know, and hasn't been vetted.  I'm not ok with that.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

It's brought us such smash hits as the Stand Your Ground Law of Trayvon Martin fame

Wow, so you guys are just trafficking in shitty Facebook rumors now?  SYG was never asserted in the Zimmerman/Martin case.  It was straight up self-defense cited as the defense, which the jury found -- same as in all 50 states.

pak152
pak152

"The navigators, , will also be fingerprinted and undergo criminal background"

and what is wrong with undergoing a background check when these same folks will have access to personal information such as social security numbers? and considering how many navigator groups are associated with OFA or are former ACORN groups I definitely want them checked out. 

"Busted: Obamacare Navigator Conspiring to Use Data for Political Purposes Resigns"
http://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2013/11/26/navigator-exposed-by-project-veritas-resigns-n1753668

"I’ve come to Florida to go door-to-door with the foot soldiers of Get Covered America, the boots-on-the-ground division of Enroll America, which bills itself as a “nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to maximize the number of uninsured Americans who enroll in health coverage made available by the Affordable Care Act.” These Obamacare evangelists are very serious about the “nonpartisan” nature of their business. Nearly every Enroll America staffer I speak to emphasizes it, often repeatedly."
http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/hard-sell_769096.html

TittyCruz
TittyCruz

He is probably the biggest fucking tool on the planet next to Dick Cheney.  He is so overly worried that some member of the middle class might get a fair shake and because he has bible thumping baggers fooled into thinking he actually give a shit about them he gets all the support he needs to proceed.  How about spending a few bucks to do some background checks on Texas churches to make certain they are teaching the word of the lord and not of the rick?  Or monitor the mega loopholes given to the rich? 

Better yet, how about learning to complete a fucking sentence before embarrassing the hell out of the State you represent? 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Navigators, as in folks from OFA? Considering what a clusterfuck this law is, we need all the protection we can get.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

And our glorious factories are running at 200 percent of capacity.

brantley.hargrove1
brantley.hargrove1

@RTGolden1 What's happening now wasn't the intent of the legislation, authored by Sen. Kirk Watson. The insurance commissioner was supposed to make a "good-faith effort" to work with HHS and, if after "a reasonable interval" TDI wasn't satisfied with the results, it could establish these rules to carry out the bill's intent. TDI brought the proposed rules for comment in September. Not sure that qualifies as a reasonable interval. At the time, Watson called it a "politically motivated effort to circumvent federal and state  law concerning navigators..."

Navigators aren't generally walking off with your vital information. By and large, they're helping you submit applications through existing channels, like the website or the phone. And if they are, I don't know that the up to $25,000 in federal civil penalties are worth the trouble.

By the way, care to expound on the "reprinting" here? It's called aggregation in the blog biz, but I'm curious..

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

If you want to keep your info private on healthcare.gov, you kan keep your info private.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

If you want to keep your info private on healthcare.gov, you kan keep your info private.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

If you want to keep your info private on healthcare.gov, you kan keep your info private.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

If you want to keep your info private on healthcare.gov, you kan keep your info private.

James080
James080 topcommenter

@everlastingphelps  

Ignore the blatant misdirection of the Zimmerman/Martin issue.

It's an effective, if tired, tactic of the modern left to change the subject when there is no lucid way to defend your position or your party.

Of course the administration enlisted ACORN folks to pitch the ACA scheme. After all, who else has more experience than ACORN in promising people lots of free stuff paid for by someone else's labor and earnings.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@everlastingphelps SYG was THE law on trial by the left in the Zimmerman trial.  They didn't care then that SYG was neither invoked nor applicable, what makes you think they'll change their tune now?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@everlastingphelps Zimmerman's criminal behavior since the verdict is certainly a vindication of the prosecution's argument that he's nothing more than a dangerous vigilante.  Post-trial, jury members admitted they were reluctant to find him not guilty.

TheOneandOnly
TheOneandOnly

@everlastingphelps What the journolister-ati call "stand your ground" is merely a codification of the ancient common law doctrine of "no duty to retreat."

In a use of deadly force in self defense justification, there were,at common law, two different duties incumbent upon he who acted in self-defense; first, duty to retreat, which imposed a duty on the actor to retreat in the face of deadly force or severe bodily injury before employing such force himself. Second, no duty to retreat. Many states still impose the former, even on a homeowner in his own bedroom. If you fail to attempt to retreat to a closet, or jump out a window before employing deadly force, your self-defense argument may FAIL. What this idiot calls "stand your ground" is merely the latter, and it's as old as the common law itself. In the face of deadly force or severe bodily injury, a person who is a place where he has a legal right to be (like on a public street, or in his own dining room) has no duty to try to run away or jump out the window before employing deadly force in self defense. This doctrine increases the risk of death or physical harm to the criminal actor, and reduces such risks for the victims of crime. Of course, it depends with whom you identify as to which standard is preferable to you. Sadly, most of our journalist types identify with the violent criminals, rather than with the innocent victims of violent crime.

TheOneandOnly
TheOneandOnly

@everlastingphelps What the journolister-ati call "stand your ground" is merely a codification of the ancient common law doctrine of "no duty to retreat."

In a use of deadly force in self defense justification, there were,at common law, two different duties incumbent upon he who acted in self-defense; first, duty to retreat, which imposed a duty on the actor to retreat in the face of deadly force or severe bodily injury before employing such force himself. Second, no duty to retreat. Many states still impose the former, even on a homeowner in his own bedroom. If you fail to attempt to retreat to a closet, or jump out a window before employing deadly force, your self-defense argument may FAIL. What this idiot calls "stand your ground" is merely the latter, and it's as old as the common law itself. In the face of deadly force or severe bodily injury, a person who is a place where he has a legal right to be (like on a public street, or in his own dining room) has no duty to try to run away or jump out the window before employing deadly force in self defense. This doctrine increases the risk of death or physical harm to the criminal actor, and reduces such risks for the victims of crime. Of course, it depends with whom you identify, criminal or crime victim, as to which standard is preferable to you.

dingo
dingo

@TittyCruz  

Whether or not some member of the middle class gets a fair shake is exactly what has the Democrats running scared before the 2014 midterms. You do realize that the ACA is a huge wealth redistributor from the middle class to the poor, right?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@brantley.hargrove1 @RTGolden1 If you read ACA closely, the Act itself instructs HHS to work in good faith with state governments and regulators to establish policies and standards for 'navigators and non-navigator assistants'.  If up to a dozen states have had to implement or propose laws like this, before HHS even started proposing and submitting policies and guidelines for review, how is that working in good faith with local authorities?  I don't doubt that the TX lege and the governor's office had political motivations for this action that had nothing to do with our safety or the safety of our information.  This just happens to one of those rare situations where the self-serving political machinations of a few not only make good sense, but actually serve the constituency.

As for the 'reprinting', well, it's an easy, casual armchair criticism of something (blog journalism) I know absolutely nothing about.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

check the latest Harvard poll. The reality based community is facing the real reality, now 56% dissaprove of El Presidente Maximo, and 47% would like to see him impeached.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @everlastingphelps Also, being a "dangerous vigilante" is not a crime in and of itself, it's the acts the vigilante carries out that are either lawful or illegal.  In Zimmerman's case, it was not murder, which is what the state decided to (over)charge him with.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @everlastingphelps He's been convicted of nothing, so he's not a criminal.  His wife recanted her story almost immediately (especially when it became evident that there were other witnesses contradicting her) and the GF who accused him had been shopping around for reality TV shows and paid news interviews before she made her claim.

So, by all means, climb out on that branch and start sawing.

TittyCruz
TittyCruz

@dingo @TittyCruz No, I don't get the Bagger Daily.  However, I am smart enough to know that facts never get in the way.  And even if it turned out that ACA happen to help you (or any Republican) in a way like be able to obtain other insurance (maybe less expensive) with NO pre-existing conditions or if someone in your family come down with a catastrophic illness and you would never have to worry about a maximum payout or any of a number of benefits that could benefit us ALL.  You would take advantage of that.  And while you might never cop to appreciating it, or being thankful Obama went through with it, you would, in the back of your mind, be happy it passed.  

It stands a chance to be far more beneficial to ALL Republican's that the war in Iraq War was.  So the glitches are getting worked out and your taxes will not be effected.  So, back to the dickhead, freakwad, idiotic, governor who is clearly making the rich richer.  Have you ever read (just for one example) of the horror stories that have happened in Texas hospitals that have destroyed people's lives due to physicians that are equally as idiotic as the gov YET who can not sue even though the Hospital might have killed a first born child, or etc etc etc.   While most Dems understand the Republican game (and the only thing they are going to do) is to block any and all that Obama is going to do.  To bitch, moan, and groan and EVERYTHING.   But hey at the same time you have members of your own party that are doing off the wall batshit crazy ass stuff and you guys are not worried that these are YOUR leaders?  Demand more of your leaders.  There must be a smart bagger somewhere.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@everlastingphelps @RTGolden1  

Velveeta is not cheese based, it is a "cheese - like, edible, manufactured food product".


Seriously, Velveeta is labeled as a "Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product".  The FDA has no standards for what this description means.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@everlastingphelps  Total idiot.  OJ got a pass and then justice finally caught up with him.  Same goes for Zimmerman; he's a man running away hard from Karma.

TheOneandOnly
TheOneandOnly

@everlastingphelps @TheOneandOnly Understood, it's just hilarious to me when I see uninformed "journolists" (misspelling intentional to draw attention to the pervasive lack of objectivity in the "profession" of journalism) talk about so-called "stand your ground" laws as if they just appeared out of thin air. The guy who wrote this piece just claimed that a political action group "brought us" stand your ground. (Oh the horror of people forming interest groups in an attempt to influence legislative policy in a Democratic Republic! The Horror!) Don't these people have access to the internet? Can they read English? Because that's all it would take, you know.

marmy
marmy

@TittyCruz

With all due respect, it was completely NOT necessary to disrupt and in a huge number of cases destroy both health insurance and health care for what is easily estimated to be over 100 million people that had coverage under individual and small business plans. Simply to provide an inferior level of health insurance coverage for an estimated 30 million people. Even HHS estimates that with Obamacare there will still be around 15 million that will choose not to have insurance coverage. People like you always value the intent and not the actual outcome of your disastrous ideology.

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