November 13 2013
Candid Camera: ObamaCare Navigators Advise Applicants to Lie
Patrice J. Lee
We’ve reported that ObamaCare is rife for abuse by navigators (enrollment counselors) because of lax hiring standards and requirements. A new video expose confirms we were right.
An investigative video released by Project Veritas exposes ObamaCare navigators counseling applicants to commit fraud, including lying about income and health habits, on applications to qualify for better prices and more in subsidies .
You probably know the founder of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, whose undercover videos in 2009 took down ACORN, the national community organizing group that has been tied to countless progressive leaders including President Obama. According to Veritas, this is just the first video in a series of ObamaCare investigations coming down the pike.
Here’s a snippet of this first video:
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.”
These navigators didn’t just advise applicants to defraud the federal government in applying for healthcare but advised them to pull the wool over the IRS on tax forms in general by withholding any extra income earned. Good to know that these navigators are working in the interests of those they serve – too bad it’s for illegal activity.
There are some 55,000 navigators nationwide, hired through grants totaling $67 million and farmed from community organizations, including ethnic organizations, labor unions, chamber of commerce, and faith-based groups.
As we reported over the summer, Health and Human Services (HHS) cut back on background checks and fingerprinting of candidates for navigator positions. Perhaps like the rush to get healthcare.gov ready by Enrollment Day on October 1, the Administration cut a few corners to get people in place to receive the millions of expected new enrollees. Unfortunately, it was at the risk American’s security and privacy.
Attorneys general across the country saw the red flags and sent a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, but that effort went nowhere. As they noted, the requirement for navigators don’t come close to the licensing requirements of health insurance agents and brokers and are less demanding than other federal agents. Yet navigators have access to sensitive information of people attempting to buy health insurance. In the Veritas video, navigators preyed on the government but it could just have easily the other way around.
To be fair, we can’t assume that all 55,000 navigators are engaged in wrong doing. Even if it’s just a small percentage, however, we should ask though whether it could have been avoided and the answer is “yes.”
I’m interested to see what else Veritas uncovered in their ObamaCare dragnet. Let’s hope that we’ll learn exactly what our $67 million in taxpayer funds is buying us. Somehow, I’m not too optimistic.