There’s more trouble for the Obamacare rollout.
The Restaurant Opportunities Center in New York has abruptly withdrawn as an Obamacare Navigator for New York state. In documents obtained by ROC Exposed under NY’s Freedom of Information Act, ROC provides no explanation for suddenly pulling out of the program it had signed on to in April.
Curiously, ROC NY continues to advertise itself as a navigator on its website, telling site visitors even today that ROC is “here to help you navigate the options” and “help you and your family enroll” in a “low-cost or free health insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act.”
ROC is a labor union front group established as a nonprofit “worker center,” which allows it to skirt federal labor laws in its disruptive protests of non-union restaurants.
Earlier this month, the House Education and the Workforce Committee began an investigation into ROC’s role as an Obamacare navigator, seeking answers from HHS Sect. Kathleen Sebelius. The Committee noted: “Due to the close association of worker centers with labor unions, the committee wants to ensure personal information collected by worker centers is protected and not used for future labor organizing efforts.”
On October 2, the public learned that the contact person for ROC’s navigator program is a self-identified “undocumented worker.” Six days later, ROC had withdrawn from the taxpayer-funded program.
Obamacare Navigators are coming under fire nationally for lax training, access to consumers’ sensitive financial information and lack of background checks, among other concerns.
Another issue is navigators’ lack of expertise about health care and insurance issues. Consider ROC’s own job listing for its Obamacare health education organizer. The job listing said the worker “MUST have” a “Demonstrated commitment to furthering workers’ rights and empowerment” but was “not required” to be “Knowledgeable about issues concerning health insurance and health care access.” When left-labor organizing comes before actual understanding of health insurance issues, is it any wonder that the Obamacare rollout is going so poorly?
ROC has received more than $2 million in taxpayer funds in recent years, but for once, it seems, the taxpayers were given a break.
The writer is communications director for ROC Exposed.