Citing scrutiny, firm won't aid Pa. on ACA
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A company that has for decades helped people enroll in Medicaid says it won't be able to sign up people for insurance under the Affordable Care Act in the four states for which it won a contract, including Pennsylvania, because there is too much scrutiny over a so-called navigator program.
According to an e-mail obtained by the Associated Press, Cardon Outreach's chief legal officer, Charles Kable, told the federal government that the firm was returning more than $800,000 in federal grant money; $178,500 had been designated for Pennsylvania. The funds were supposed to be used to help explain the intricacies of health insurance to millions of people who are not covered.
While the e-mail did not go into detail, some have said those opposed to the health care law, mostly Republicans, are making it difficult for some of the navigator programs to get off the ground.
"The emerging state and federal regulatory scrutiny surrounding the Navigator program requires us to allocate resources which we cannot spare and will distract us from fulfilling our obligations to our clients," the e-mail said.
Texas-based Cardon was one of more than 100 nonprofits and related organizations recruited by the federal government to sign up navigators to help the 30 million uninsured people who can now gain coverage. The federal government gave the groups more than $67 million grants.
Cardon was supposed to help people in Florida, Oklahoma, Utah and Pennsylvania. The company, which has done similar outreach for 20 years for Medicaid recipients, did not return e-mails and phone calls.
Republicans on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce called on 51 of the grant recipients - among them the 10 organizations, including Cardon, that received funds to train navigators in Pennsylvania and New Jersey - to answer detailed questions and provide voluminous documentation about their budgets, training and supervision by last Friday.