When I first heard of the billion-dollar effort to hire largely unvetted “navigators” to help confused applicants navigate the maze of ObamaCare regulations – a maze packed with glittering taxpayer treasures – I wondered how long it would take James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas undercover camera teams to create a video expose. The answer turned out to be “not long.”
Here’s another story for President Obama’s increasingly jittery friends in the media to ignore: ObamaCare navigators in Texas caught on tape, repeatedly encouraging applicants to commit fraud so they’ll get more money. The applicants are taught to conceal income so they’ll get higher taxpayer subsidies and lower premiums. Smokers are told to conceal their habit so they get lower premiums. ”I always lie on mine,” one navigator cheerfully says of the paperwork.
And, as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen “Whatever” Sebelius admitted in Senate testimony last week, there are no federal background checks for ObamaCare navigators, so it’s possible Obama’s billion-dollar program could give convicted felons access to your personal data. And despite all the cash poured into the program, some of the navigators don’t seem very well-prepared for their mission of guiding applicants through the most complicated law ever passed. Some of them don’t even know they are ObamaCare navigators. One woman in the Project Veritas video admits she hasn’t finished her training yet – three and a half years apparently wasn’t enough time for anything to get done with respect to ObamaCare!
None of this should come as any surprise, since the news is filled with stories of billion-dollar fraud in just about every social program, from food stamps and “free” cell phones (two million duplicate subscriptions last year!) to the Earned Income Tax Credit. ObamaCare is even easier to rip off, especially since the people administering it are so obviously incompetent, and the computer systems don’t work right. The IRS recently admitted that it sent 343 phony tax refunds to a single address… in Shanghai.
Project Veritas also does a little digging into the shadowy political connections of the groups that have been feasting on all those plump, juicy navigator grants, which critics have portrayed as a money-laundering operation to put taxpayer cash into the hands of left-wing activist groups. Not to spoil one of the more grimly amusing passages from the video, but some of the people involved with the navigator program certainly seem to view themselves as partisan political operatives.
ObamaCare is already one of the most corrupt government programs ever unleashed on the American people. From fraudsters grabbing oversized taxpayer subsidies, to partisan political operations feasting on taxpayer money and sensitive data, to Barack Obama’s devastating lies about what his program would do to existing insurance policies, to lingering questions about exactly how all that start-up money was spent… the whole thing is a gigantic scam, from top to bottom.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn -- citing Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' recent admission that felons potentially could become ObamaCare navigators as well as new undercover video showing questionable behavior by these officials -- called Monday for the program to be halted.
Cornyn ripped the program after conservative activist James O'Keefe released a new video that appears to depict ObamaCare navigators, in Cornyn's home state of Texas, encouraging applicants to fib on their applications.
"This behavior is unacceptable, and is yet another broken piece of a deeply flawed system. The Obama administration should stop this program immediately," Cornyn said in a statement. "Texans should not be purposefully misled and more importantly, their privacy should not be put at risk."
The "navigators" are workers who are supposed to help people sign up for health care coverage under the new health law.
Reports continue to roll in about problems with the program, after a group formed from the ruins of ACORN announced earlier this year it was getting in on the sign-up effort.
The United Labor Unions Council Local 100, a New Orleans-based nonprofit, said in September it would take part in a multi-state "navigator" drive to help people enroll in President Obama's health care plan. The labor council was established by ACORN founder Wade Rathke after his larger group was broken up amid scandal in 2009.
The video from O'Keefe, who played a big role in dismantling ACORN, adds to the concern.
The newly released video from O'Keefe's Project Veritas are similar to past sting operations his group has conducted, including against ACORN. Using hidden-camera footage, the latest shows actors posing as ObamaCare applicants -- and unsuspecting navigators giving questionable advice.
In one, workers with a community center in Irving, Texas, are shown telling one actor that he shouldn't reveal anything about smoking, because it could jack up his premiums.
"You lie, because your premiums will be higher," one says.
Another chimes in, "Don't tell them that."
In another video, from a National Urban League office in Dallas, an actor is told not to declare income he has earned on the side because it could cause problems with the government.
"Don't get yourself in trouble by declaring it now," one worker says.
"Yeah, it didn't happen," another says.
"Our organization has taken immediate steps to address the actions of the identified employees and investigate the full context of what occurred in our Dallas and Irving offices," a statement released by The Urban League of Greater Dallas said.
"In addition, we support actions by the Department of Health & Human Services to decertify the three Navigators-in-training featured in the video, and The Urban League of Greater Dallas has suspended these employees until further notice," the statement said.
O'Keefe's group says it will release more videos of its "ObamaCare investigations" in the coming weeks that will show fraud and abuse in the system.
"This investigation shows just how vulnerable Obamacare is to fraud," O'Keefe said in a statement.