Published December 20, 2015
Republican Sen. John Cornyn -- citing Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' recent admission that felons potentially could become ObamaCare navigators as well as new undercover video showing questionable behavior by these officials -- called Monday for the program to be halted.
Cornyn ripped the program after conservative activist James O'Keefe released a new video that appears to depict ObamaCare navigators, in Cornyn's home state of Texas, encouraging applicants to fib on their applications.
"This behavior is unacceptable, and is yet another broken piece of a deeply flawed system. The Obama administration should stop this program immediately," Cornyn said in a statement. "Texans should not be purposefully misled and more importantly, their privacy should not be put at risk."
The "navigators" are workers who are supposed to help people sign up for health care coverage under the new health law.
Reports continue to roll in about problems with the program, after a group formed from the ruins of ACORN announced earlier this year it was getting in on the sign-up effort.
The United Labor Unions Council Local 100, a New Orleans-based nonprofit, said in September it would take part in a multi-state "navigator" drive to help people enroll in President Obama's health care plan. The labor council was established by ACORN founder Wade Rathke after his larger group was broken up amid scandal in 2009.
The video from O'Keefe, who played a big role in dismantling ACORN, adds to the concern.
The newly released video from O'Keefe's Project Veritas are similar to past sting operations his group has conducted, including against ACORN. Using hidden-camera footage, the latest shows actors posing as ObamaCare applicants -- and unsuspecting navigators giving questionable advice.
In one, workers with a community center in Irving, Texas, are shown telling one actor that he shouldn't reveal anything about smoking, because it could jack up his premiums.
"You lie, because your premiums will be higher," one says.
Another chimes in, "Don't tell them that."
In another video, from a National Urban League office in Dallas, an actor is told not to declare income he has earned on the side because it could cause problems with the government.
"Don't get yourself in trouble by declaring it now," one worker says.
"Yeah, it didn't happen," another says.
"Our organization has taken immediate steps to address the actions of the identified employees and investigate the full context of what occurred in our Dallas and Irving offices," a statement released by The Urban League of Greater Dallas said.
"In addition, we support actions by the Department of Health & Human Services to decertify the three Navigators-in-training featured in the video, and The Urban League of Greater Dallas has suspended these employees until further notice," the statement said.
O'Keefe's group says it will release more videos of its "ObamaCare investigations" in the coming weeks that will show fraud and abuse in the system.
"This investigation shows just how vulnerable Obamacare is to fraud," O'Keefe said in a statement.