Butterfield Outraged by Republican Investigation to Delay Enrollment in Healthcare Marketplace
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During an Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigation subcommittee hearing today, Congressman G. K. Butterfield again blasted Committee Republicans for launching an unwarranted investigation into 51 community organizations that received Navigator grants to help enroll people in health insurance plans made possible by the Affordable Care Act.
“The chairman of this committee has abused his investigatory authority by launching a fishing expedition into Navigators who received federal funding solely for the purpose of discrediting the President,” said Butterfield. “This sideshow only served to distract the Navigators attention from their mission of helping the poor and indigent to access health insurance.”
Navigators will be essential guides for uninsured Americans who may require help understanding their benefits and gaining coverage through the healthcare marketplaces. Navigator grantees are preparing for October 1 when open enrollment for the health marketplaces begins. In North Carolina, one million people are expected to qualify for a subsidy under the Affordable Care Act.
Committee Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers confirmed that she was unconcerned by the possibility of enrollment delays caused by committee’s requests. Congressman Butterfield called the reaction an “outrage.”
Butterfield’s full statement follows.
Thank you Mr. Waxman for yielding. Already hundreds of thousands of my constituents in North Carolina’s First Congressional District have benefited from the Affordable Care Act. 130,000 seniors are now eligible for Medicare preventative services, 41,000 children can no longer be denied coverage based on preexisting conditions, and 8,200 young adults now have coverage on their parents’ plans. It has been a long path to help the 137,000 uninsured individuals who live in my district, but we are almost there.
With the beginning of open season on October 1st we will be one step closer to helping many of my constituents in eastern North Carolina receive affordable and quality health care. The opening of the Marketplace, the education and support provided by the Navigators, and the outreach efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services will help directly enroll 1.1 million uninsured people and assist an additional 7.3 million uninsured people to receive health insurance.
But instead of touting the success of soon having nearly every American insured, my Republican colleagues have forced more than 40 votes to dismantle and defund the Affordable Care Act. The chairman of this committee has abused his investigatory authority by launching a fishing expedition into Navigators who received federal funding solely for the purpose of discrediting the President. This sideshow only served to distract the Navigators attention from their mission of helping the poor and indigent to access health insurance. The Charlotte News and Observer reported that Ms. Ellmers, one of my North Carolina colleagues said of the baseless investigation that “she would be pleased if the congressional navigator inquiry stymies the nonprofits planning navigator work.” And she is quoted as saying “if this ended up resulting in a delay, I wouldn’t be unhappy about it.” This is an outrage!