White House Awards Grants for Enrolling Citizens onto Obamacare Exchanges

Over 100 organizations—including Planned Parenthood affiliates, community groups, health care providers, and business groups—will receive $67 million in grants to serve as “navigators” who will help Americans sign up for health insurance in Obamacare’s new state exchanges.

Among the “navigator” recipients of the awards are Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Mobile ($20,750), University of Arkansas ($774,745), Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona ($190,268), Pinellas County (FL) Board of County Commissioners ($600,000), National Hispanic Council on Aging ($646,825), University of Georgia ($1,657,378), Mercy Hospital and Medical Center (IL) ($452,590), Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services ($276,593), University of Mississippi Medical Center ($831,986), Mental Health America (in multiple locations), and Migrant Health Promotion, Inc. ($589,750).

CMS.gov has a complete list of “navigator” recipients who will be helping Americans sign up for the Obamacare exchanges.

Jason Millman at Politico reported Thursday that The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the $67 million in grants is in excess of what the Obama administration initially said would be available for the “navigators.” An additional $13 million was taken from the health law prevention fund for those states that refused to set up the exchanges, leaving it instead to the federal government to do so.

The “navigators” will especially be utilized in what Millman refers to as “Obamacare-resistant states,” where the president’s signature legislation is not being promoted. Navigators cannot recommend a specific health insurance plan or coverage but are supposedly working to help Americans understand their options. Navigators are also prohibited from accepting compensation from insurers.

Texas and Florida, Millman reports, have been “singled out” as key to Obamacare’s success. Navigators in those states will receive about $10.9 million and $7.9 million, respectively.

Millman writes:

The single biggest grant — approximately $5.9 million — went to the United Way of Metropolitan Tarrant County, which serves the Fort Worth and Arlington areas of Texas. The group says it plans to work across the state, according to HHS.

He further reports that 19 of the “Obamacare-resistant states” have put forward additional requirements for more navigator training and licensure beyond what the Obama administration requires, leading to some legal issues regarding state versus federal laws.

Three Planned Parenthood affiliates in Iowa, Montana, and New Hampshire received a grant of $655,000 to serve as “navigators.”

President Obama asked Planned Parenthood to help him promote Obamacare during his appearance at the organization’s gala event in April.

"I’m here to… ask for your help, because we need to get the word out,” he told Planned Parenthood supporters. “We need you to tell your patients, your friends, your neighbors, your family members what the health care law means for them.”

Obama added:

Make sure that they know that there are plans out there right now that cover the cost of contraception and preventative care free of charge. We’ve got to spread the word, particularly among women, particularly among young women, who are the ones who are most likely to benefit from these laws.

Regarding the “navigators,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement:

Navigators will be among the many resources available to help consumers understand their coverage options in the Marketplace. 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.

According to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), navigators must perform the following functions:

  • Conduct public education activities;
  • Distribute fair and impartial information on health plan enrollment, premium tax credits, and free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid;
  • Facilitate enrollment in qualified health plans;
  • Provide referrals to other consumer assistance organizations or state agencies that address health insurance issues; and
  • Provide information in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

In addition to the navigator program, Enroll America, a nonprofit group with close associations to the Obama administration, is also pushing to get Americans signed up for health insurance.

As Breitbart News reported in April, the head of Enroll America is Anne Filipic, a former Obama White House official under Valerie Jarrett, and the advisory board of Enroll America includes prominent members of AARP, NAACP, and SEIU.

HHS also is using the help of “Champions for Coverage,” businesses and organizations across the nation that are “pitching in to help consumers understand the coming options for quality, affordable coverage.”

“Champions for Coverage” include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), NAACP, the National Baptist Convention, the National Council of La Raza, and the National Partnership for Women and Families.

HHS provides a complete list of “Champions for Coverage” here.

On Wednesday, Kirsten Andersen at LifeSiteNews reported that Washington D.C. Planned Parenthood was awarded $375,000 to serve as a “Health Link Assister” that will steer its clients toward the D.C. health insurance exchange.

The abortion giant was one of 35 “Health Link Assisters” selected by the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority to receive part of the $6.4 million in grants to pay for “in-house ‘experts’ on Obamacare to promote the health insurance exchanges to their clients.”

D.C. Health Link Assisters “are a critical part of our enrollment efforts,” said Mila Kofman, executive director of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority. “These organizations are trusted voices and sources of information in their communities and they will be our boots on the ground.”

Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner reported that the Obama administration is intent on selling Obamacare to Americans so that the October 1st opening day of the exchanges will be successful.

On Monday, Sebelius told her department workers in an email, “We have a huge opportunity to help even more Americans – and you can help the effort.”

Sebelius suggested to her staff to “help spread the word by adding a widget to your email signature.” [link added]

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Sebelius has been traveling to Republican-led states that have chosen not to set up exchanges where, according to her, “the job is made doubly difficult.”

“We know that there will be states where things will go very well because the states are all in,” Sebelius said. For those in other states, “getting correct facts to them, drilling down through the misinformation, is going to be more complicated. That’s where a lot of my time and effort is going to be spent, on the markets that are really federal markets.”

Sebelius ridiculed the campaign of Republicans such as Sen. Mike Lee (UT) and Ted Cruz (TX) who have threatened to defund Obamacare.

“There still is a dialogue being perpetuated by some opponents that this is gonna go away, and that this is not the law,” she said. “The Affordable Care Act was signed in March of 2010, it was upheld by the Supreme Court a year ago, the president was re-elected and we will implement the law. This is the law; it’s not a debate any longer, it’s not a discussion.”


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