WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Showing just how tense relations are between House Republicans and the White House, Darrell Issa and Pete Sessions and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius exchanged sharp words in the opinion pages of the Dallas Morning News.
At issue are the health care navigators: men and women who are trained to help Americans understand their new insurance options under the Affordable Care Act.
Darrel Issa’s, R-Calif., House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing about the navigators in Richardson, Texas.
In the Dallas Morning News, he and Sessions, R-Texas, write “(t)his hearing, one of a series of hearings investigating the flawed implementation of Obamacare, strives to get the answers that the American people deserve about Obamacare’s navigator program.”
The hearing comes after reports some navigators in the state have been urging enrolees to lie on their applications.
“While President Barack Obama and other allies of Obamacare continue to publicly tout the law, they have done too little to address serious problems that come with it,” continues the lawmaker’s op-ed.
But Sebelius, in her opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News, fires back.
She writes the hearing is designed to “stifle, intimidate and impugn the reputation of people who have been working hard to help their fellow Texans get covered.”
“Millions of Texans don’t have the security of health coverage. In fact, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured in the nation. Yet there are some who will seemingly stop at nothing to deter Texans — and those who assist them — from obtaining coverage or even learning about their new options under the Affordable Care Act,” Sebelius wrote.
She said all Obamacare navigators are required to complete a rigorous 20 hour training course.
Issa and Sessions say that only five to 20 hours of training are required and calls the exam a “quiz they can take as many times as needed.”