The Republican Attorneys General Association released a video on Thursday supporting Attorney General Patrick Morrisey‘s recent actions toward groups responsible for hiring Affordable Care Act “navigators,” which may have caused one state nonprofit to withdraw from a federal grant program meant to help hire those navigators.
Morrisey and 12 other attorneys general recently sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, saying the navigators would not have adequate training to protect individuals’ personal information.
The lawyers-in-chief said HHS rules promise to protect data but the rules “lack clarity” and do not provide for screening or background checks for the navigators. Morrisey also has raised concerns that individuals or businesses could misrepresent themselves as navigators in order to defraud consumers.
“The work that Patrick Morrisey and other Republican attorneys general are doing to help protect their residents from identity theft is absolutely necessary to insure that identities won’t be put at risk,” Republican State Leadership Committee President Chris Jankowski said in an emailed statement. “West Virginians should be very concerned about the fact that with only 20 hours of training and no background check, these ‘navigators’ will have access to and be tasked with safeguarding consumers’ sensitive personal information.”
West Virginia Parent Training and Information was selected as one of two groups that would hire navigators for West Virginia, receiving a $276,617 grant from the the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In response to Morrisey’s concerns about identity theft, the group agreed to subject each of its navigators to a criminal background check.
Then, according to the Sunday Gazette-Mail, Morrisey asked the group to answer 26 questions regarding personnel training and other items. He also filed a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of WVPTI’s application with the navigator grant program.
Speaking at a black lung hearing earlier this month, Sen. Jay Rockefeller criticized Morrisey for his actions toward WVPTI.
“Our attorney general, who hates all of this Affordable Health Care Act, has intimidated one of the groups, so they’ve withdrawn, and it’s really something that should be investigated,” he said.