Opinion

ObamaCare ‘navigators’ deployed to unfriendly states like Texas, Florida

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In those states where there is a significant level of hostility toward ObamaCare, trained “navigators” will be on the ground to ensure the program is successfully implemented, senior administration officials said Thursday during a conference call.

With the open enrollment period for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act set to run from Oct.1 to March 2014, White House officials made it clear that the partnerships set up in California to promote the federal health care program could serve as model for the rest of the country.

President Obama is scheduled to speak Friday in San Jose, Calif., where he will discuss the implementation process and the importance of community outreach efforts. Spanish-language media outlets including Univision, Telemundo, ImpreMedia and the California Endowment, a statewide health care foundation, have been recruited to take part in this effort, according to administration officials.

The White House hopes to see about 7 million people enrolled nationwide.

obamacare poster
photo credit: www.catholic.org

“Of those 7 million, it’s important to get between 2.6 and 2.7 million into marketplaces who are young and healthy people,” a senior administration official said during the call. “When you drill down a little deeper where a lot of these young and healthy folks are subject to these efforts, one out of every three live in three states.” That would be Texas, Florida and California.

While the focus of President Obama’s comments Friday will be on California, administration officials said in response to reporter questions that the White House would rely upon ObamaCare navigators and community health centers to make inroads in states like Florida and Texas, which have been resistant to implementation.

“When you think about states like Texas and Florida, the other thing to understand is that even though there might not be some support in the state capitals, this is going to be a very community-based and regionally focused enterprise,” a senior administration official said. “For example, community health centers are really going to be at the core of local efforts where there is going to be someone trained in each one of them, in each state one of those states across the country to walk people through the process…mayors very involved, state legislators very involved, sports teams very, very involved, churches, community based organizations.

“When I look at a map, you can look at Texas and Florida as these big, massive geographic areas. But it’s important look down at a community level and see what type of partnerships you can build there with folks who are very committed to this and know these communities better than anyone else. That is the kind of detail and rigor going to be going into this effort in states like Texas and Florida.”

Another administration official on the call said funding is available through the Department of Health and Human Services for ObamaCare navigators who she described as “trained in-person consumer assistants.” The official also told reporters $150 million is available in supplemental grants for community health centers, which she said are “quite prevalent in Florida and Texas.”

In California, 6 million people are eligible for the new insurance marketplace. More than 2 million of these residents will qualify for subsidies, and half of those eligible are Hispanic and Spanish speaking, according to the White House officials. The outreach efforts aimed at California Latinos that Obama is expected to highlight in his speech Friday will be replicated in other states, the administration said.

Published with permission from Watchdog.org

Contact Kevin Mooney at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @KevinMooneyDC

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