The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday that two Planned Parenthood chapters, two United Way organizations and Ascension Health, the nation’s largest Catholic hospital system, are among the 90 nonprofit groups serving as “navigators” that will receive a total of $60 million to help Americans sign up for ObamaCare, says Kaiser Health News.
The taxpayer funds will be allocated in 34 states that depend on the federal government for their ObamaCare online exchanges, where people can purchase ObamaCare policies.
The role of the “navigators” is to push President Barack Obama’s health law’s new benefits and help people evaluate health plans for sale in the exchanges.
Open enrollment this year will run from November 15 to February 15. The Obama administration states that over 8 million people signed up for private insurance during the first year of ObamaCare’s rollout, though that number has been hotly contested.
As Breitbart News’ Chriss Street reported in June, over 6 million people have signed up for Medicaid since the ObamaCare rollout.
“In-person assisters have an impact on the lives of so many Americans, helping individuals and families across the country access quality, affordable health coverage,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell wrote in a statement. “We are committed to helping Americans get covered and stay covered with in-person assistance in their own communities.”
Planned Parenthood chapters in Montana and Iowa received grants totaling approximately $500,000.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, in particular, is expected to receive $218,940. HHS states that, this year, “PPHeartland plans to have Navigators cover 69 counties and will work with community organizations to identify the best avenues to reach the target population and strategically base Navigators in regions across Iowa.”
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland receives more federal funding just several weeks after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit reinstated a case brought against the Iowa chapter by one of its former employees who alleged the abortion giant defrauded and abused taxpayer funds.
As Breitbart News reported, the lawsuit, brought by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Susan Thayer, a former facility director of Planned Parenthood, charges that her former employer “repeated false, fraudulent, and/or ineligible claims for reimbursements” to Medicaid and failed to meet adequate medical standards.
The lawsuit had been dismissed by a district court judge, but the federal appeals court panel reinstated the case, concluding, “Thayer has pled sufficiently particularized facts to support her allegations that Planned Parenthood violated the FCA [False Claims Act].”
Despite the fact that the U.S. Catholic bishops have fought ObamaCare’s HHS mandate, in Kansas, the Catholic Ascension Health system will receive $241,749 to “continue to assist consumers (individuals and small employers) in understanding the new health insurance programs, taking advantage of consumer protections, and navigating the health insurance system to find the most affordable coverage that meets their needs.”
In August, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said the latest “accommodation” by the Obama administration regarding the ObamaCare mandate that requires many employers to provide free contraception, sterilization procedures, and abortifacient drugs to its workers through health insurance plans, was met with “disappointment.”
Kurtz said the “regulations would not broaden the ‘religious exemption to encompass all employers with sincerely held religious objections to the mandate.”
“Instead, the regulations would only modify the ‘accommodation,’ under which the mandate still applies and still requires provision of the objectionable coverage,” he added. “Also, by proposing to extend the ‘accommodation’ to the closely held for-profit employers that were wholly exempted by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hobby Lobby, the proposed regulations would effectively reduce, rather than expand, the scope of religious freedom.”
Though HHS is employing the help of “navigators” to sign Americans up for ObamaCare, Robert Laszewski, writing at Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review, states, “To say this fall’s 2015 Obamacare open-enrollment has the potential to be problematic is an understatement.”
“The HealthCare.gov backroom is not built yet–a year and counting after it should have been,” Laszewski writes. “How many people are enrolled in Obamacare? Without a government to insurance company accounting system yet built, no one knows.”
“The administration says they are going to auto-renew existing Obamacare policyholders,” he adds. “But they don’t have a valid baseline census from which to start.”
“The last couple of months have been very quiet for Obamacare,” Laszewski concludes. “That is about to end.”