Republican senators slammed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s navigator program Thursday arguing that the rule is so lenient that a convicted felon could qualify as a navigator and get access to consumers’ confidential health information.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, nine senators — led by Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) — wrote that the program lacked appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of consumers and demanded more details on its requirements.
“The standards proposed by your Department could result in a convicted felon receiving federal dollars and gaining access to confidential taxpayer information,” the letter stated. ”The same standards allow any individual who has registered with the exchange and completed two days of training to facilitate enrollment, as if the decision to purchase health insurance is similar to the decision of registering to vote.”
The “unreasonably low standard” for becoming a navigator both undermines the state’s ability to ensure consumers are protected and raises questions about the appropriate use of federal resources and the protection of highly sensitive information, they said.
It’s not the first time Republicans have pushed back on the navigator rules. They’ve previously pressed the administration for information on protecting consumers’ sensitive data from navigators in hearings this spring.