Tag-Teaming Obamacare Obstruction

As the October 1 date that begins the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period for health care exchanges approaches, the coordinated federal-state nature of GOP efforts to obstruct implementation of the legislation grows clearer. Salon‘s Brian Beutler reports that the House Republican challenges to groups receiving “navigator” grants to promote enrollment are synching up with the states with levels of uninsured and state-level Republican political power:

Last week, as several other outlets reported, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce committee sent letters to state agencies and nonprofit groups that received Obamacare “navigator” grants — organizations that will help educate people about the law and facilitate their enrollment — seeking an incredibly broad and difficult-to-compile range of information.

The effort’s pretty clearly intended to bog down the navigators ahead of enrollment, which could easily reduce the number of people who end up insured under the law. Republicans claim that the inquiry is intended to protect beneficiaries’ private information.

But if the goal were to establish best practices for the navigators, they have a strange way of going about it. All of the navigator grant recipients are based in states with federally facilitated exchanges and states partnering with the feds to stand up their marketplaces. Salon’s analysis reveals that among these states, Republicans directed their inquiries to organizations in states with the largest uninsured populations….

These organizations are based in the following states, in alphabetical order: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

These eleven states, notes Beutler, are among the 15 with the highest uninsured populations. All but one also currently has a Republican governor. I’m sure Obamacare enrollment will go just swimmingly.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.