8/17/2013

A giant political slush fund for Democrats that will have real privacy concerns: Obamacare navigators

Money to "community groups" and "advocates" sure seems like From The Hill newspaper:
. . . The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced $67 million in funding for “navigators,” which are people and community groups who will help people make sense of their options under the healthcare law. 
HHS had initially said navigators would receive $54 million in grants, but officials said they pulled an extra $13 million from the healthcare law’s prevention fund to help broaden the reach of the program. 
“Navigators will be among the many resources available to help consumers understand their coverage options in the marketplace,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release. “A network of volunteers on the ground in every state — health care providers, business leaders, faith leaders, community groups, advocates, and local elected officials — can help spread the word and encourage their neighbors to get enrolled.” 
All told, more than 100 organizations in 34 states received grants on Thursday. . . .
Meanwhile, this ramp up is cutting corners on security, which was probably too weak in any case.  Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi set off the alarm on Friday.
Bondi said that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making it easier for someone to be hired as a so-called navigator, cutting back on background checks and eliminating a fingerprinting requirement, which could make it easier for a person’s private information to fall into the wrong hands. 
“Because of time constraints, HHS [is] cutting back on the requirement to become a navigator, meaning they're not going to be doing background checks. They're not going to be fingerprinting these people,” said Bondi in an interview with Fox. 
“And it's more than navigators. It's people that assist the navigators. Now, these navigators will have our consumers throughout the country's most personal and private information — tax return information, Social Security information. And our biggest fear, of course, is identity theft.” . . .
Note also the earlier information on how these "navigators" will be given access to the data hub with all sorts of sensitive information.
The massive, centralized database will include comprehensive personal information such as income and financial data, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, social security numbers, and private health information. It will compile dossiers based on information obtained from the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Social Security Administration, state Medicaid databases, and for some reason the Peace Corps. The Data Hub will provide web-based, one-stop shopping for prying into people’s personal affairs. . . . 
The hub will be used on a daily basis by so-called Navigators . . . .

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