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Nanny state 'navigators'

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By Michelle Malkin
Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Welcome to ObamaWreck! Americans nationwide spent last Tuesday struggling with the much-hyped Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges. Server meltdowns, error messages and security glitches plagued the federal and state government websites as open enrollment began.

But when taxpayers discover exactly who will be navigating them through the bureaucratic maze, they may be glad they didn't get through.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius controls a $54 million slush fund to hire thousands of “navigators,” “in-person assisters” and counselors, who are now propagandizing and recruiting ObamaCare recipients into the government-run exchanges. As I warned in May, the nanny state navigator corps is a serious threat to Americans' privacy. Background checks and training requirements are minimal to nonexistent. And a history of fraud is no barrier to entry.

Case in point: the seedy nonprofit Seedco. This community-organizing group snagged lucrative multimillion-dollar navigator contracts in Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee and New York. The New York Post reports that the outfit “is partnering with dozens of agencies, such as the Gay Men's Health Crisis, Food Bank for New York City and the Chinese American Planning Council, in each of (New York's) five boroughs.” They'll have access to potential enrollees' income levels, birth dates, addresses, eligibility for government assistance, Social Security numbers and personal medical information.

Given the enormous responsibility to handle sensitive data in a careful, neutral manner, combined with the overwhelming pressure to boost ObamaCare enrollments, you'd think the feds would choose navigators with the most impeccable records. Yet, less than a year ago, Seedco agreed to settle a civil fraud lawsuit “for faking at least 1,400 of 6,500 job placements under a $22.2 million federally funded contract.”

Seedco's corrupt behavior went far beyond defrauding taxpayers through abuse of New York City programs, federal Labor Department funding and federal stimulus dollars. Seedco (which stands for “Structured Employment Economic Development Corp.”) tried to destroy and defame whistle-blowing official Bill Harper, who discovered and reported the rampant falsification of data.

The feds and Seedco assure us that new management is in place. They rearranged some deck chairs, created a new “compliance program” and hired an independent reviewer. But an ethos of by-any-means-necessary book-cooking and a culture of intimidating whistle-blowers don't disappear overnight.

This entire government-nonprofit alliance rests on dragooning as many people as possible into government programs, including food stamps, CHIP (the federal Children's Health Insurance Program) and now ObamaCare. One of Seedco's officials actually said the fraud case “made us a stronger organization.” Yes, they actually sold their deliberate number-fudging as an asset instead of a liability. And four states swallowed the pitch whole. The spirit of fraud-stained ACORN and its nanny state progeny lives.

So, buyers, beware: ObamaCare security “glitches” are not just a bug. They're a feature.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2009).

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