HHS is releasing the $54 Million in Federal Taxpayer Grants for "navigators" to find people who will help consumers shop for insurance in newly created exchanges.
HHS said it expects to spend up to $54 million to fund navigators, but that might not be enough money. They might need more! More to the tune of over $800 Million more!
According to the HHS, which is partly responsible for enacting ObamaCare, each state should have two or more navigators. One of which must be a non-profit entity.
Can you say Tens of Thousands of ObamaCare Navigators?
If these navigators will not directly enroll customers in a plan, who does?
Well, that job is reserved for the exchanges themselves, the navigators will only help consumers compare their options.
So what are we the taxpayer be getting for spending $54 Million in Federal Taxpayer Grants?
Well, the two laws comprising ObamaCare come to nearly 1,000 pages, and the regulations issued under it are already “well over twice as long as the Guinness World Record for the longest novel,” according to Americans for Limited Government.
A draft version of the federal government’s application for insurance is 15 pages long for a family of three and includes an additional 61-page questionnaire for determining eligibility for financial assistance.
The proposed Navigator rule itself runs to 63 pages.
Just who is eligible to become a navigator?
Although the rule declares that Navigators "must not have a conflict of interest during their term" and "must provide information and services in a fair, accurate, and impartial manner," it provides little other guidance.
"The rules allow navigators to come from the ranks of unions, health providers and community action groups such as ACORN and Planned Parenthood," Bedard states.
In fact, they require each exchange to have "at least two different types of entities as Navigators, one of which must be a community and consumer-focused non-profit group."
How many navigators will be needed?
According to The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard, it is going to take "tens of thousands" of people, each possibly earning "$20 an hour or more," to help Americans navigate through the labyrinthine legislation known as ObamaCare.
The final number has not yet been determined, but according to Bedard, California alone has requested 21,000 ObamaCare navigators.
It’s no exaggeration to suggest that there may be hundreds of thousands of these tax eaters when all is said and done.
And exactly how much this cost the taxpayers?
Remember that $800 Million number that I used earlier? Well, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department estimates that ObamaCare navigators will make anywhere from $20 to $48 per hour, depending on their positions.
So if we assume that Liberal California gets its 21,000 ObamaCare navigators, and all make $20 an hour for a 40-hour week, than they would cost taxpayers over $873 Million A YEAR!
And that’s for just one state!
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius expressing his concern over the ObamaCare navigators' "inflated hourly wages," particularly "at a time when thousands of current federal employees are being placed on furloughs to reduce our budget deficit."
Additionally, taxpayers will have to foot the bill for ObamaCare Translators for non-English-speakers who seek insurance on an exchange. Yes, Translators!
It just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger!
The exchanges themselves are supposed “to have a strong customer-service component, including call centers and physical offices,” according to The Hill. This, too, will undoubtedly take taxpayers for a pretty penny — and provide customer service similar to that of the Internal Revenue Service.
Then there’s the matter of voter registration.
The draft ObamaCare application asks the applicant if he would like to register to vote; if so, it directs him to a voter registration form.
Republicans are none too happy with this, fearing that it could be used to encourage people to register as Democrats — especially since Democrat-aligned activists may well be serving as ObamaCare navigators.
Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-La.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, on March 25, sent a letter to HHS seeking more details on the voter-registration matter.
In his letter he reminded her that the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) does not mention voter registration and that the Paperwork Reduction Act "requires that Federal agencies gather only appropriate information as required by legislation."
Navigating ObamaCare is going to be a costly, labor-intensive, intrusive, and politically charged task. In no conceivable way does it improve the quality or reduce the cost of health-care.
It does, however, vastly extend the reach of the federal government and the party that controls its executive branch. And that, more than anything else, explains why the law was passed and why it is proving so difficult to repeal.
Democrats Are Worried!
Last December, 2012, sixteen (16) Democrat Senators who voted for the Affordable Care Act are asking that one of its fundraising mechanisms, a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices scheduled to take effect January 1, 2014 be delayed.
What is the Medical Device Tax?
The $30 Billion Medical Device Tax was included in ObamaCare. It is a tax which will push medical device manufacturers overseas, cost jobs, will stifle innovation, hurt small businesses, and cause increased medical costs for patients.
The amount is based on a 2.3% excise tax that will be levied on the total revenues of a company, regardless of whether a company generates a profit, starting in 2013.
Fact is, many companies will owe more in taxes than they generate from their operations. The result will be devastating to innovation, patient care and job creation. And yes, ObamaCare may either put these companies out of business or sent overseas.
It was an argument that was made by Republicans against ObamaCare, but now Democrat senators say the tax levy will cost jobs . In a statement, Sen. Al Franken called it a “job-killing tax” - and also impair American competitiveness in the medical device field.
That was December, this month the liberal rag The New York Times is reporting that Democrats are raising concerns directly with Obama administration officials at a recent luncheon meeting with Denis McDonough who is the White House Chief of Staff.
So what did those Democrats tell the Obama rep?
Well, to show you how completely out of touch Democrats are, according to reports, Democrat politicians are only now beginning to hear from constituents who are angry, confused and worried about how the law will adversly affect them.
Imagine that! Only now are they beginning beginning to hear from constituents who are angry, confused and worried about how the law will adversly affect them.
Democrats always act so surprised!
It's as if Democrats think their constituents enjoy taking home less money on their paychecks because of higher taxes, or enjoy having the Federal Government lord over them, or relish having the Federal Government fine, jail, or confiscate their property if they don't comply with ObamaCare laws.
Democrat Shaheen said, White House officials “acknowledged that these are real concerns, and that we’ve got to do more to address them."
Iowa Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on health-care, also voiced his concerns, telling the Times: “I am greatly disappointed —and beyond upset — that the administration chose to help pay for the Affordable Care Act in fiscal year 2013 by raiding the Public Health and Prevention Fund.”
Harkin was referring to the White House’s acknowledgement that it had transferred $322 Million from the prevention fund to pay for promotion of the new insurance exchanges.
That's right, $322 Million just to promote ObamaCare!
At Congressional hearings this week, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius reportedly said the administration needed to tap the fund because Congress had refused to provide money for outreach activities.
In addition, Maryland Sen. Benjamin Cardin told the Times that he is worried about big rate increases being sought by the largest health insurer in his state, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.
He said the company is seeking increases of roughly 25 percent for individual policies that will be sold in the state health insurance exchange, and a 15 percent increase for small businesses. The company reportedly said the higher premiums reflect the costs of complying with the new ObamaCare laws.
For allowing the power hungry socialists in the White House to enact ObamaCare and drive our nation into bankruptcy, especially when easier less costly solutions could have been used, I can only hope the Democrats get what's coming to them in 2014.
Democrat politicians are a miserable group. And yes, it seems that until the bottom completely falls out, they will just screw the American people at every turn.
Story by Tom Correa