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Rick Scott to bash Obamacare "Navigators" over ID-theft, tax issues


Rick Scott made just enough of a name for himself with just the right team in 2009 by fighting Obamacare as a private citizen through his group Conservatives for Patients Rights. After parlaying that campaign into a successful bid for governor, Scott is now using Florida's biggest bully pulpit to continue criticizing Affordable Care Act.

Tomorrow at the Florida Cabinet meeting in Miami he plans to ask Florida's insurance commissioner a series of questions about the so-called "Navigators" who are supposed to help people wade through the health care laws. Scott's concern: these people will have sensitive data and there aren't enough safeguards in place to protect that information.

It's another sign that Republicans from Washington to Tallahassee (especially) aren't doing much to help the law find a footing in Florida. A bill Scott signed this legislative session, for instance, blocks the state's insurance commissioner from regulating new plans sold by insurance companies for the next two years and requires them to send customers notices in the mail that spells out how much of the cost of the policy is attributable to the Affordable Care Act

Here's the text of Scott's prepared remarks

Last Thursday, Heath and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that Florida will receive $7.8 million in federal grants to employ so-called “Navigators.”

Navigators are people who will be paid by the federal government to help Floridians “navigate” the President’s healthcare maze.

In order to provide this supposed help, Navigators will collect large amounts of personal information and share that information with the federal government.  Additionally, the federal government has reduced the required training for Navigators despite the fact that they will have access to sensitive financial data, such as Social Security numbers and tax information.

Federal safeguards that should be in place to protect our privacy are behind schedule and inadequate.  It is unclear how the federal government will protect personal information from being stolen or otherwise misused.

During the 2013 legislative session, our Legislature and state agencies anticipated some of these problems and took proactive steps to ensure that only registered individuals could serve as Navigators.  Since then, our regulatory agencies have followed suit, working hard to protect Floridians.

Although we can register Navigators at the state level, we cannot prevent Navigators from collecting Floridians’ sensitive personal and tax information and sharing that information with the federal government.  Therefore, we cannot stop the President’s plan to create a new federal data hub that compiles personal information on Floridians, and all U.S. citizens, who enter the federal healthcare exchanges.

Because Navigators may increase the likelihood of privacy violations and identity theft, I have asked Commissioner Kevin McCarty of the Office of Insurance Regulation to appear before the Cabinet today to provide us with a briefing on what his office knows about the Navigator program and its implementation.

Commissioner McCarty, thank you for being here today. 

[Commissioner McCarty will provide an update]

Potential Questions

•               What type of personal information will be requested by Navigators and assisters?
•               What type of information is the federal government making available to Navigators and assisters?
o   Multiple reports state that Navigators will have access to the IRS database and immigration records.  Is this correct?  
•               What safeguards are in place to protect personal information that Navigators and assistors collect for the federal government?
•               Which federal agencies will have access to the personal information that Navigators collect?
•               At this point, is there anything more we can do at the state level or is this entirely a federal information-protection problem?
•               Will the federal government notify people every time their personal information is shared?

Thanks, Kevin.