WH dismisses 'navigator' concerns

The White House on Monday dismissed documents provided by the House Oversight Committee that suggested so-called "navigators" assisting consumers with signing up for the new healthcare law had put consumer information at risk.

"This is just one more data point in the Republican obsession with sabotaging ObamaCare," said White House press secretary Jay Carney.

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The panel charges that some ObamaCare navigators “encouraged consumers to commit tax fraud by underreporting income in order to qualify for ObamaCare’s health insurance subsidies.”

It also says that navigators broke rules by mailing paper applications on behalf of consumers, rather than telling consumers to do so themselves.

But Carney said all navigators undergo extensive training "to ensure appropriate understanding of relevant exchange-related information, which includes privacy issues."

"All navigators must complete about 20 hours of training, including training on privacy issues," Carney said. "And this training is not a one-time-only process. Navigators have regular refresher opportunities where they can share updates, receive information, and address issues as they are in the process of helping people in their communities."

Republicans have focused on the navigators, who are not required to undergo background checks, as a potential privacy threat as they seek to question the law.

Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) held a field hearing on Monday to examine issues with navigators.

But Democrats say the GOP is simply attempting to politicize those working to help implement the law. They say similar employees work to help enroll people in Medicare.

"What opponents of the new law could not do legislatively, at the ballot box, or even by shutting down the federal government, they’re now trying to do through other means," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote in an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News. "Case in point is Monday’s congressional hearing in Dallas, designed to stifle, intimidate and impugn the reputation of people who have been working hard to help their fellow Texans get covered."