WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius acknowledged Wednesday that it would be possible for a convicted felon to become an Obamacare navigator — one of the workers responsible for helping people deal with the ins and outs of the healthcare law.
“Isn’t it true there is no federal requirement for navigators to undergo a criminal background check, even though they will receive personal information from the individuals they help to sign-up up for the Affordable Care Act?” asked Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn at a Senate Finance Committee hearing at which Sebelius was testifying.
“That is true,” Sebelius replied. “States could have an additional background check and other features, but it is not part of the federal requirement.”
“So a convicted felon could be a navigator and acquire sensitive personal information?” Cornyn asked.
“That is possible,” Sebelius acknowledged. “We have contracts with organizations and they have taken the responsibility to screen the individual navigators and make sure they are sufficiently trained for the job.”
Asked by Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson if they would be open to a federal requirement for background checks, Sebelius said it was up to congress, but that they would certainly look at it.