Covered California has received an additional $155 million in federal grant money, pushing the total amount the state was awarded to promote the health care law past the $1 billion mark.
According to the group’s website, the money will primarily be used for outreach, marketing, enrollment assistance, staffing and technology. Before this grant, Covered California received $910 million in taxpayer dollars for Obamacare purposes. With the current money pumped into the state, the total amount has reached $1.1 billion in grants.
Covered California has also hired at least 31 felons as navigators who have been convicted of past crimes such as forgery, shoplifting, robbery, and welfare fraud. The group defended their actions of hiring convicted felons.
“These convictions happened 10, 20, 30 years ago. They do not pose a threat or a significant threat to those people who they will be doing business with,” said Covered California spokesperson Dana Howard.
Two lawmakers are now calling for a hearing on their hiring practices.
“We understand that individuals who have paid their debt to society deserve a second chance, but felons convicted of financial crimes should be disqualified from being hired by the state,” Assembly Minority leader Connie Conway (R-Tulare) and Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R-Palm Desert) wrote in a letter. “Allowing these individuals to have access to private information, such as Social Security numbers, would be like giving an auto thief a set of car keys.”
“I’m a complete fan of the Affordable Care Act, but now I can’t sleep at night,” Danielle Nelson told the LA Times. “I can’t imagine this is how President Obama wanted it to happen.” Nelson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year, and cannot find a doctor.