No Background Checks Required for ObamaCare Reps: Really?

Nick Fishman

In these days of rampant identity theft people are pretty skeptical about giving out any personally identifiable information (PII).   So you can only imagine how skittish they might be about sharing the holy grail of PII (name, social security number, date of birth and address) with a total stranger.  Now, throw in your complete medical history.  Wouldn’t you expect that the people who are paid to collect that information would be subject to a comprehensive employment background check by their company before they were granted access to such data?

What if I told you that there was a company that employed thousands of people that collected this information but didn’t think it was necessary to conduct background checks?  You might think twice about giving them that information. Most likely, if you knew that they weren’t properly screened, you would just move on to the next company.

This is not a hypothetical scenario or a hypothetical company.  In fact, the hypothetical company is the U.S. federal government who has hired thousands of “navigators” to help technology-challenged people apply for new health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.  Many of these people are elderly or members of other vulnerable populations and highly susceptible to identity theft.  The following excerpt was taken from a article published earlier this week:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted Wednesday that it was possible convicted felons could be hired as ObamaCare ‘navigators,’ giving them access to personal information like Social Security numbers and addresses of anyone signing up for the program.

Sebelius made the admission in an exchange with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas., during a Senate Finance Committee hearing. It was the second time in a week Sebelius was on Capitol Hill, forced to defend the problem-plagued ObamaCare website.

“Isn’t it true that there is no federal requirement for navigators to undergo a criminal background check,” Cornyn asked her.

“That is true,” Sebelius answered. “States could add in additional background checks and other features, but it is not part of the federal requirement.”

Cornyn pressed, “So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them?”

Sebelius answered, “This is possible.”

I have no intention to getting into politics on this, because I would gladly go after either party on this.  So let me keep this short and sweet and just ask:


At a minimum the should require thorough criminal background check including a county criminal record check in each county they have lived, a federal district check and a national database check.  All alias names should also be checked.  Unbelievable.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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  • Kimberly Kline

    To answer your question…..extremely stupid! As you say, this is not an attack on a particular political party. It is a disgust over the lack of regard for the American people and their personal information. At the very least, each navigator should have been investigated as to whether they have a criminal history or history of fraud or theft. Passing the buck to individual states to do a background check if they wish is unconscionable. This is a federal program and any safety measures should be put in place at that level.

    • Nick Fishman

      Here, here. Great insights Kim.

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