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Confidential Obamacare Navigator training manual uploaded online

December 16, 2013 | Joe Schoffstall - 1,010 Comments

INFORMATION NOT RELEASABLE TO THE PUBLIC UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY LAW: This information has not been publicly disclosed and may be privileged and confidential. It is for internal government use only and must not be disseminated, distributed, or copied to persons not authorized to receive the information. Unauthorized disclosure may result in prosecution to the full extent of the law.”

That is the warning at the bottom of every page of the 217-page confidential Obamacare Navigator training manual sitting online for anyone to come across –and as Watchdog.org reports, that’s exactly what someone did.

Tammy Duffy, a radiation health physicist from New Jersey, was talking with Obamacare Navigators one day and asked a question regarding people who are self-employed, in which they could not provide an answer. She then asked for a copy of the manual, which they would not give her since it’s not meant to be available to the public.

“I asked the nice ladies for a copy and they said I could not have it because it was a government document not for the public. So I thought maybe there is an outline or shorter version that is for the public. I went to Google and typed in ‘healthcare insurance marketplace Navigator SOP,” Duffy said.

Sure enough, a Google search of “Healthcare insurance marketplace Navigator SOP” yields a link back to the “Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator Standard Operating Procedures Manual.” The manual is labeled as “restricted distribution” by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and threatens prosecution to anyone authorized to view it who ultimately disseminates it to unauthorized people — and it’s online for everyone to see.

navigators

Duffy knew she came across something that should not be online and tried reaching out to the federal government informing them of this. Nothing happened.

“I immediately sent an email through the White House web site that these documents are on the web for all to see. I got no response. I also called the White House yesterday and spoke to a volunteer (and said) these restricted documents are on web. I have heard from no one. I also sent it to a friend who works at the Department of Defense and said, ‘Get this taken down.’ It’s still up there.”

The document itself does not seem to contain sensitive information or secrets even though it is labeled confidential.

While nothing within the manual seems to be out of the ordinary or raise eyebrows, it contains parts instructing Navigators how to interact with people they speak with. It also includes sections on “Identifying Personally Identifiable Information,” “IRS Data Safeguards” and “Preventing Fraud.”

However, despite sections on preventing fraud and protecting people’s personal information, Breitbart News obtained an early copy of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report on Obamacare Navigators that documents Navigators encouraging fraud.

The report titled, Risks of Fraud and Misinformation with ObamaCare Outreach Campaign: How Navigator and Assister Program Mismanagement Endangers Consumers, details how ill-trained the people in charge of signing Americans up for Obamacare actually are.

It notes that ”documents call into question the effectiveness of the Navigator program and the Obama administration’s ability to safeguard consumer information” and that “poorly-trained Navigators gave consumers incorrect information about the health care exchanges, violated HHS rules and procedures, and even encouraged applicants to commit tax fraud in some instances.”

The Oversight committee found:

*Navigators from the Urban League of Dallas were captured on video encouraging applicants to lie on their health insurance application so the applicants could qualify for tax subsidies. Navigators were also recorded advising an applicant to lie about her smoking habits to obtain a lower monthly premium. It was later discovered that two of the so-called Navigators involved in the incident were assisting consumers with their applications even though they had not completed their training and certification requirements.

*One self-identified Navigator gave a television interview in which she told viewers blatantly incorrect information—that applicants’ credit scores could impact their eligibility for certain plans. It later came to light that the woman was not a certified Navigator but rather a volunteer with a Navigator organization.

*Mountain Project, Inc., a Navigator organization in North Carolina, has been collecting and mailing paper applications on behalf of applicants, in violation of Navigator rules and procedures.

Even more worrisome is that Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, previously stated during a hearing that it’s possible felons could be hired into the Navigator role since it lacks background checks.

“Isn’t it true that there is no federal requirement for navigators to undergo a criminal background check,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) asked Sebelius during the hearing on November 6, 2013.

“That is true,” Sebelius answered. “States could add in additional background checks and other features, but it is not part of the federal requirement.”

Cornyn then asked, “So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them?”

Sebelius responded, “This is possible.”

To see the full 217-page Obamacare training manual, click here.

 

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Joe Schoffstall

Joe Schoffstall is a Reporter and Editor at Capitol City Project. Previously, he worked as a Multimedia Reporter at the Media Research Center (MRCTV, CNSNews.com).

His work has been featured on numerous outlets including the Drudge Report, Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, Yahoo News, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post-- among many others.

You can contact Joe by emailing Joe@CapitolCityProject.com.
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