Obama administration to Congress: We’re tired of your dumb Obamacare questions.

September 9, 2013

Republican lawmakers have questions for the groups signing up the uninsured for Obamacare. They have, in fact, lots of questions. Their questions were detailed in a three-page letter sent earlier this month to more than 100 “navigator” groups, which had received federal funding for health law enrollment

Health and Human Services stepped in Monday morning with a response on behalf of the groups--and a retort.

“We are concerned about the timing of your inquiry given its potential to interfere with the Navigators ability to carry out their crucial efforts in assisting Americans who lack health insurance,” Jim Esquea, assistant secretary for legislaton at HHS, writes in a response to Congress.

“In an effort to address your remaining questions about the Navigator Program and enable the Navigators to focus on training staff to begin to assist uninsured Americans, we are providing the following responses to the questions posed in your letter to awardees.”

What follows is a five-page response to the Energy and Commerce letter, which the Obama administration has previously described as a “blatant and shameful attempt to intimidate” outreach workers.

It will be interesting to see next whether House Republicans still want to hear from the grantees directly, or accept the administration’s letter in their place.

“We trust that our response fully addresses your questions,” Esquea writes at the end of his letter. We’ll soon see whether Republicans agree.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/files/2013/09/navigators-response.pdf

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Brad Plumer | September 9, 2013