As the Obama administration frantically tries to enlist the help of organizations to promote the Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood could be one of several groups with access to citizens’ sensitive information in the Federal Data Hub.
According to The Illinois Typepad Review, if the organization is granted funding through the Department of Health and Human Services’ $54 million in navigator grants, the nonprofit will have access to Obamacare’s Federal Data Hub. The database contains citizens’ information collected from the Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, and includes Social Security numbers.
Though these navigators have yet to be named, Planned Parenthood is likely to be one.
Navigators would assist Americans with enrollment in Obamacare’s exchanges and inform them about the subsidized insurance, according to HHS. Officials from organizations receiving navigator grants are required to take an online course about how the law works.
Planned Parenthood has already signed on to promote the healthcare law, as POLITICO previously reported, and some affiliates will apply for HHS’ navigator grants, the news outlet stated last month. The deadline to apply for the funding was June 7, but the agency has yet to announce all the organizations receiving the awards.
Planned Parenthood did not return Red Alert Politics’ request for comment.
According to the grant proposal’s solicitation, the funding opportunity was created by HHS to “enable recipients to operate as Exchange Navigators in States with a Federally-facilitated Exchange.”
As the Kaiser Family Foundation found, 27 states have defaulted to federally-facilitated healthcare exchanges and seven have opted for a state-federal partnership. Thus, navigators like Planned Parenthood would have access to citizens’ information from more than 30 states.
The Federal Data Hub has come under scrutiny as more information about it is revealed. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and fellow Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee penned a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the lack of consumer protection in the navigator program.
“The guidelines you have proposed for navigators, assisters, application counselors and other consumer outreach personnel provide significantly less protection to patients and consumers than the states have provided through licensed insurance producers for decades,” the letter states.
“Exchange navigators, assisters, application counselors, and other consumer outreach professionals will have similar access to sensitive consumer financial information, yet the proposed rule has no similar consumer protections. In fact, the standards proposed by your Department could result in a convicted felon receiving federal dollars and gaining access to confidential taxpayer information,” it continues.
Planned Parenthood has not announced whether it is named as a navigator, but with the White House’s close relationship to the group, it wouldn’t be a surprise if it was awarded navigator funding. Let’s hope their employees’ intentions as navigators are pure.