States Opposed to ObamaCare Find Ways to Gum Up Law

Several restrict the work of 'navigators,' those who help people with the new rules
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2014 3:43 PM CST
States Opposed to ObamaCare Find Ways to Gum Up Law
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A number of states opposed to ObamaCare have managed to slow its progress, a new study finds. Reports center on the navigator program, in which assistants, or "navigators," advise Americans on how to sign up for plans under the health law. Nineteen states, including Florida, Missouri, Montana, and Texas, limit navigators’ activities; in Florida, for instance, they can’t work in state offices, while Missouri makes them take an exam and pay a fee for state licenses, NBC News reports. Backers of these laws say they’re aimed at vetting people handling sensitive personal information. Nine states have also rejected ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion.

A George Washington University team reviewed 606 of 1,198 community health centers backed by the federal government, comparing those in states with “restrictive” ObamaCare laws to those in states with “full implementation” of the health law. “Health centers in restrictive states reported approximately half the staffing capacity maintained by health centers in full implementation states,” says researcher Sara Rosenbaum, and “health centers in restrictive states were significantly less likely to assist with plan enrollment.” In short, the study says, people living in restrictive states face more limited health care access, USA Today explains. Adds Rosenbaum:

  • “If anyone has any doubt, this should put it to rest. The navigator laws combined with opting out of Medicaid really stopped outreach in its tracks."
(Read more ObamaCare stories.)

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