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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Some will need help with health law from ‘navigators’-Aid to non-English speakers

    Some will need help with health law from ‘navigators’

    Aid to non-English speakers

    By Tom Howell Jr.
    The Washington Times
    Monday, July 15, 2013

    President Obama’s health care law will be available in Spanish and other languages, according to new rules the administration issued late last week that tell the “navigators,” who are supposed to help Americans negotiate the labyrinthian law, to be prepared to help non-English speakers.

    The in-person assistants, who will help the uninsured determine the coverage and benefits they qualify for, have been told they’ll have to assess the racial and ethnic groups in their regions, know those groups’ preferred languages and “diverse cultural health beliefs,” and be prepared to work within those constraints.

    While illegal immigrants have been excluded from the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” many legal immigrants will qualify, and the Obama administration is eager to make sure it reaches anyone who’s eligible, as part of its goal of bringing down the ranks of the uninsured.

    The navigator guidelines issued Friday apply to state-based insurance exchanges set up wholly or partially by the federal government. Those states that opted to run their own exchanges can choose whether to adopt the guidance.

    But already, many state-based exchanges are translating materials and looking to navigators and in-person assistants (IPAs) to be prepared to help non-English speakers get enrolled.

    Nevada, for example, wants 40 percent of the groups that offer in-person assistance to have at least one person conversant in Spanish, since 43 percent of Nevada’s 577,000 uninsured residents are of Hispanic origin, said C.J. Bawden, a spokesman for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange.

    In New York, officials in Albany recently awarded $27 million in grants to individuals and community groups who, in 48 different languages, will connect qualified residents with benefits under the health care law.

    And in the District of Columbia, Web and outreach materials will be available in Spanish and Amharic, the latter in recognition of the capital area’s large Ethiopian population. The city’s call center will accommodate questions from a much broader array of languages, officials said.

    Officials from ProEnglish, a group that advocates for English to be the official language at all levels of government, said they would rather see the government push for non-English speakers to learn the language, rather than reach out to them in their own tongue.

    “That way, they can educate themselves about these programs and fully understand what they are signing up for, rather than relying on these so-called ‘navigator’ groups who might have their own political agendas,” said Suzanne Libby, director of government relations for ProEnglish.

    She said the group doesn’t normally take a stance on topics like the health care law, but is “very concerned with the multilingual effort surrounding it.”
    States said they want to make sure they get the non-English advice right.Mr. Bawden, the Nevada official, said his state is building a Spanish version of a Web portal from the ground up, rather than translating from English, where they feared something could be lost in translation.

    While naturalized citizens are required to demonstrate they have a working knowledge of English, some are exempted, including older residents who have been in the country for a long time. Some of those are covered by Medicare, but others are not — leaving millions of Americans and legal permanent residents who may not be fluent in English but are eligible for benefits under the new law.

    “Legal residents are eligible for enrollment in premium tax credits through the exchange, whether or not they speak English,” said Timothy S. Jost, who has studied the health care law and is a professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law. “This is only fair as most of them are working people paying taxes.”

    How convenient that they aren't going to do verification and background checks.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Move over NSA, here comes the Obamacare Big Brother database

    by James S. Robbins July 20, 2013 1:37 pm

    Would you trust thousands of low-level Federal bureaucrats and contractors with one-touch access to your private financial and medical information? Under Obamacare you won’t have any choice.

    As the Obamacare train-wreck begins to gather steam, there is increasing concern in Congress over something called the Federal Data Services Hub. The Data Hub is a comprehensive database of personal information being established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement the federally facilitated health insurance exchanges. The purpose of the Data Hub, according to a June 2013 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, is to provide “electronic, near real-time access to federal data” and “access to state and third party data sources needed to verify consumer-eligibility information.” In these days of secret domestic surveillance by the intelligence community, rogue IRS officials and state tax agencies using private information for political purposes, and police electronically logging every license plate that passes by, the idea of the centralized Data Hub is making lawmakers and citizens nervous.

    They certainly should be; the potential for abuse is enormous. The massive, centralized database will include comprehensive personal information such as income and financial data, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, social security numbers, and private health information. It will compile dossiers based on information obtained from the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Social Security Administration, state Medicaid databases, and for some reason the Peace Corps. The Data Hub will provide web-based, one-stop shopping for prying into people’s personal affairs.

    Not to fear, HHS says, the Data Hub will be completely secure. Really? Secure like all the information that has been made public in the Wikileaks era? These days no government agency can realistically claim that private information will be kept private, especially when it is being made so accessible. Putting everyone’s personal information in once place only simplifies the challenge for those looking to hack into the system.

    However, the hacker threat is the least of the Data Hub worries. The hub will be used on a daily basis by so-called Navigators, which according to the GAO are “community and consumer-focused nonprofit groups, to which exchanges award grants to provide fair and impartial public education” and “refer consumers as appropriate for further assistance.” Thousands of such people will have unfettered access to the Data Hub, but there are only sketchy guidelines on how they will be hired, trained and monitored. Given the slap-dash, incoherent way Obamacare is being implemented the prospect for quality control is low. And the Obama administration’s track record of sweetheart deals, no-bid, sole-source contracting and other means of rewarding people with insider access means the Data Hub will be firmly in the hands of trusted White House loyalists.

    So if you think the IRS targeting Tea Party groups was bad, just wait for the Obamacare Navigators to be unleashed. “Trust us,” the administration says, no one will abuse the Data Hub. Sure, because that has worked out so well in the past.

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    Last edited by Newmexican; 07-21-2013 at 08:02 AM.

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