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Energy and Commerce Investigates Patient Navigators

When Congress returns from its August recess next week, the focus is expected to be on the president’s request for approval to engage in a military strike against Syria.

Last week, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce majority sent a letter to half of the groups approved as navigators to help the uninsured understand and purchase health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Recently, the administration awarded more than 100 organizations grant funding to serve as navigators. The letter requested details about the groups’ activities, budget, employees and training, intended use of consumer information, and other issues related to their navigator grant. Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) responded to the Republicans’ request with a letter to Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), calling the “groundless investigations” an effort to “intimidate and divert resources from the effort to implement the law,” particularly as navigators are increasing efforts in anticipation of marketplace open enrollment beginning Oct. 1.

Over the August recess, many immigrant advocate groups, including labor unions and the business community, pressured targeted Republican members of Congress to openly support a path to citizenship. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was included in the group, given his position in Congress and the large Latino population in his district. Despite these efforts, the House has not made serious movement toward considering immigration legislation that includes a path to citizenship.


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