Investigating Obamacare Fraud at Texas Ground Zero for Abuse
This week, my fellow government "watchdogs" and I took our oversight efforts over the Obamacare #fail and its botched website out of the Committee hearing room and into ground zero for navigator issues: North Texas.
I headed to Dallas on Monday to join some of my colleagues on the House Oversight Committee at a special field hearing to look at the Obamacare Navigator program and investigate reports of abuses within the system. The Navigator program is an outreach program that was created under Obamacare with the intent of encouraging and facilitating enrollment in the federal health insurance exchanges. However (as you probably remember), back in November, undercover videos were released that showed Obamacare navigators at two different locations in North Texas urging Texas applicants to lie on their health insurance applications in order to avoid higher premiums, remain eligible for premium subsidies and avoid potential audit. Later that month, another video of a navigator encouraging Texans to commit fraud on their applications emerged from Houston. On top of this disturbing video footage, our committee released a report that revealed details of the serious mismanagement of the Navigator programs, exposing Americans to fraud and posing a threat to the safety of consumers' personal information.
We decided to not only hold a hearing to investigate the Navigator program, but to conduct our investigation at the source of the controversy: North Texas. Our field hearing focused on the many questions that have been raised about the Navigator program, including the required training employees had to undergo and the lack of background checks and fingerprinting for those on the job. We came to the Ground Zero of the reported abuse for these answers. This week's field hearing is just the first of our official efforts to investigate these disturbing stories of fraud within Obamacare's Navigator system.
Also questioning witnesses from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Texas Department of Insurance, and Texas Association of Health Underwriters were: Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) and Marc Veasey (D-TX). The hearing lasted just under 2 hours and can be viewed here.
I imagine we'll continue to learn about more and more cases like this and uncover even more troubling details on this and other abuse within the new overhaul of our health care system. This story is far from over. I'll let you know what we find.