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Wed, Nov 26, 2014

Tenn. licensing Obamacare workers

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NASHVILLE — Tennessee and a variety of other states are suddenly placing licensing restrictions on a group of people hired to carry out one of Obamacare’s most important functions — and The Washington Post seems unhappy about it.

In a recent article, the Post seemed to scold Tennessee and a dozen other states for getting in the way of what they call progress. The article implied that officials in these states detest Obamacare so much they are unjustly using their powers to limit its application.

“There is a very palpable concern . . . that anti-Obamacare state government people will find ways to gum up the works,” the Post quoted Leonardo Cuello, director of health reform for the National Health Law Program, as saying in one passage.

Kate Abernathy, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, however, said nothing of the sort is true and that the department is merely trying to protect consumers from possible criminal activity.

Tennessee, like other states such as Ohio and Missouri, are imposing licensing rules on what are known as Obamacare navigators.

According to the Post’s description, Obamacare navigators will comprise “a workforce of tens of thousands of people who will be deployed by the administration to provide in-person or over-the-phone assistance for people signing up for insurance.”

Abernathy said these navigators will hold such tremendous sway over people that regulation is necessary.

“We want to deter bad actors from assuming the role of navigator and taking advantage of Tennesseans,” Abernathy said. “The registration process with TDCI ensures that individuals with criminal records are not allowed to be in these positions and it reinforces the prohibition of selling, soliciting, or the negotiation of any policy of insurance by a navigator.”

Abernathy said these regulations are going into place to ensure that navigators only serve as what she called “impartial information hubs.”

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Health Care, Journalism, Obamacare, Politics, Tennessee Watchdog
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