EDITORIAL: Navigating the swindle

Congress goes after the official abusers of Obamacare

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When a cousin so distant that nobody in the family has ever heard of him sends an email to ask for your bank information so he can transfer a big inheritance, nearly everyone knows by now that he’s not actually a relative, and there is no inheritance. The FBI and other police agencies try to put such thieves behind bars. The Obama administration hands them a check and calls them “navigators.”

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a report Monday confirming the findings of a group called Project Veritas, which caught Obamacare navigators on tape encouraging fraud. Armed with millions in federal funding, navigators were hired to boost the lagging enrollment numbers for the president’s health care scheme. So far, five navigators have been fired for telling applicants to lie about their income and health history to win freebies and subsidies they don’t deserve.

Polls show that a large majority of Americans would rather stick with the doctor and health plan they have than enlist in the one-size-fits-all Obamacare. Democrats suspected this might happen, so they hatched the subscheme to pay “community organizers” to boost enrollment figures — not necessarily the actual enrollment, just the figures. Navigators don’t have to know anything about insurance or medicine, and they usually have only five or so hours of training, or less. They might be ex-cons, since there are no background checks. Only skill in the art of the hustle is needed.

With no actual knowledge of what they’re selling, navigators have been caught — on tape — dispensing misinformation, and disinformation, to encourage applicants to take subsidies to which they are not entitled. One navigator said in a television interview that an applicant’s credit score could affect his eligibility for certain plans, which is not true. This person, the congressional committee learned, was not actually a navigator, but actually a “volunteer” at an organization that receives federal funds. Who can know who’s kosher and who’s not?

Shady navigators have access to Social Security numbers, details of an applicant’s income and other tax information, and they can do with it what they want. Congressional investigators noted that “internal [Department of Health and Human Services] documents call into question … the Administration’s ability to safeguard consumer information.”

The administration is actually using the navigator program to shower political allies with taxpayer cash. Nearly $100 million in navigator grants has been distributed to more than 100 liberal and left-wing groups. Planned Parenthood so far has received $655,000 in direct funding, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars more as subgrantees of other organizations. Unions have taken their cut, as have the sordid remains of the corrupt ACORN organization. Navigators aren’t selling merely Obamacare, but the entire liberal agenda.

In an op-ed essay in The Dallas Morning News, Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services and the boss lady of Obamacare, defended the corruption and instead scolded congressional investigators for trying to “stifle, intimidate and impugn the reputation of people” in the program.

Tough words, but if Obamacare were a policy worth buying on its merits, it would need no such unprecedented and unrelenting sales campaign. Congress must pull the plug on the navigators program because they’re abusing the public trust. It’s bad enough that government is taking over health care; it need not corner the market on the art of the swindle.

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