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Lawmaker criticizes Obamacare questions on voter registration

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A House Republican leader wants the Obama administration to explain why an application to use insurance marketplaces under the health-care law asks people if they would like to register to vote.

“While the healthcare portions are lengthy and complex on their own, the draft documents wander into areas outside the Department’s purview and links applications for health insurance subsidies to voter registration,” Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., Louisiana Republican, said Monday in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

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Voter registration applications are sometimes available to people seeking other government services — for example, on trips to a state’s motor vehicles department.

But Mr. Boustany’s letter said applicants may be confused by the question when it is tied to the “Obamacare” application.

The registration section comes after applicants review their eligibility status for insurance policies and learn how to complain if they feel they’ve been discriminated against during the process.

“The position of the question could lead some to think voter registration is somehow tied to subsidy eligibility,” the letter said.

He also noted that helpers known as “navigators” will assist applicants as they wade through the “Obamacare” exchanges — set to go live in 2014 — and may be tied to politically active organizations such as Families USA and the AARP.

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