Topics: Obamacare

Health care law allows hiring convicted felons as Obamacare navigators

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Politics,Congress,Crime,Susan Ferrechio,Obamacare,PennAve,Kathleen Sebelius,Obamacare Navigators

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a Senate panel Wednesday that there are no safeguards in place that would prevent convicted felons from becoming "navigators" for the new health care law implementation.

"That is possible," Sebelius told Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who asked her about felons being hired for the job.

Health care navigators are certified counselors hired to help consumers and small businesses with the application process for healthcare.gov, the health insurance exchange website.

Navigators, according to healthcare.gov, are trained to help consumers complete eligibility and enrollment forms, which include sensitive personal information including Social Security and financial information.

Under current law, there is no federal requirement for a background check, though states can require it, Sebelius said.

"So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual, unbeknownst to them," Cornyn asked Sebelius during the hearing.

"That is possible," she answered.

Sebelius told another GOP Senator, Johnny Isakson, of Georgia, that she would be willing to consider amending the law so that background checks are required.

"If that is the will of the Congress," she said. "We'd certainly take a look at that."

Sebelius said 45,000 "agents and brokers" have been trained to help consumers navigate the new health care law.

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