Quick Read: Examining the $67 Million Navigator Grants

August 15, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced $67 million worth of Navigator grants to 105 different organizations intended to help sell and explain Obamacare to the American people.

CMS initially estimated $54 million would be made available for these grants, but true to form, they are over budget. An additional $13 million allotted today was raided from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Prevention and Public Health Fund.  Translation: Obamacare was over budget – again – and to ‘fix’ the problem, the administration again turned to its slush fund set up for “prevention and public health” and funneled $13 million to groups whose purpose it is to promote the law.

Then there’s the issue of privacy and security. It is the responsibility of Obamacare’s Navigators to help Americans sign up for health care. This means Americans will detail their very personal health and financial information to these individuals, who are then supposed to help them sign up for health care coverage through the exchanges. The sheer volume of personal information collected by navigators raises serious privacy concerns. Yesterday 13 attorneys general voiced their own concerns regarding the security of Americans’ personal information with the Navigators. Meanwhile the security of the data hubs where all of this personal health and financial information will be stored will not be known one day before open enrollment.

Implementation has been anything but smooth with delays and missed deadlines becoming a common theme. These grants come just 45 days before open enrollment is scheduled to begin, leaving a short training window for the Navigators.

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