'Junta for Progressive Action,' Other Partisan Groups Get Federal Grants to Sell Obamacare
The Hartford Courant has reported on Connecticut organizations receiving federal grants to act as "in-person assisters" for the purpose of registering people for Obamacare insurance plans. Many of the groups receiving this grant money nationally are partisan and controversial (including the previously reported involvement of Planned Parenthood.)
For example, a New Haven, CT organization called "Junta for Progressive Action" is one of 300 grant recipients in the state. When it isn't signing people up for Obamacare, Junta for Progressive Action advocates against policing policies that help catch illegal aliens.
Will organizations such as Junta that possess a clear ideological bias be required to check the immigration status of those they help navigate through the troubled Obamacare web portals?
Some Hispanic families may think twice about exploring the new coverage options because they don't want to discuss immigration matters, said Yanil Terón, executive director of Center for Latino Progress in Hartford. "They're concerned about coming forward," she said. Undocumented immigrants cannot reap the law's benefits, but their U.S.-born children can apply for HUSKY, the state's subsidized health program.
Consumers must provide information about citizenship status, income and other matters to determine eligibility for Medicaid or subsidized private coverage with Access Health, but conversations remain confidential. "We want to create a safe environment for families who have people who are eligible for coverage but don't want to jeopardize an undocumented individual," said Skene from Access Health.
"There is no punitive immigration follow-up. That is 100 percent not part of the enrollment process," added Jason Madrak, chief marketing officer for Access Health.
Recall, the "honor system" is utilized elsewhere in the Obamacare enrollment process: for example, statements of income are not being verified.
Access Health, Connecticut's official Obamacare exchange, received a $125,000 grant "to support grass-roots education and enrollment, with a focus on increasing coverage in communities of color." Via organizations such as Junta, the state is deliberately directing resources towards shopping Obamacare plans by race.
Broadly, "culture" is also a target: per Emilia Skene, "an in-person assister recruitment coordinator with Access Health," Connecticut is trying to undo a "cultural mindset among Hispanics" of individual responsibility that prevents Hispanics from racking up medical expenditures:
"We need to change the way that Hispanics think about health care," said Skene. "We want to show how accessing preventive care on a regular basis and establishing a long-term relationship with a physician can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a healthier community."
"It's true," said Cruz, of the tendency by Hispanics to exhaust home remedies and over-the-counter medications before seeking medical care. "We were raised to try to solve these problems on our own. The last thing we want to do is go to the doctor."
While Skene's stated motivation is to usher Hispanics towards professional health care, the objective success of her taxpayer-funded activity would equal additional taxpayer-funded health expenditures. Taxpayer money is thus being utilized by politically biased groups to advocate for greater usage of taxpayer money, and the groups are operating on the honor system in terms of possible citizenship and income fraud.
(Bryan Preston assisted with this article.)