Checking Obamacare ‘navigators’

Worrying about whether Americans seeking advice about the national health care law will fall victims to identity theft seems to have been an afterthought for President Barack Obama.

After months of hearing concerns expressed about the problem, Obama called a high-level meeting last week, allegedly to discuss it. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder were among those in attendance.

In order to learn about how “Obamacare” affects them and possibly to sign up for insurance benefits under it, millions of Americans are likely to use the services of federal contractors being called “navigators.” But some of the companies providing navigator services do not even require criminal background checks of their employees. The potential for navigators with larceny on their minds to use information they obtain to steal clients’ money is obvious.

It was clear weeks ago when a number of states sent Sebelius a letter asking for information on security safeguards regarding navigators. Sebelius did not even bother to acknowledge receipt of the letter. But now, she, Obama and others seem to be worried more about public perceptions than real security and privacy protections.

With less than two weeks left before Obamacare kicks in fully for most people, it is too late to do anything meaningful. Wednesday’s meeting, then, clearly was more about damage control and propaganda than real action.