Follow up on Georgia Navigators.

November 20, 2013 9:00 am

by Buzz Brockway · 25 comments

Last week I challenged media and basically anyone willing to do it to dig into what the Obamacare Navigators are up to here in Georgia. Since then George Mathis in the AJC filed this report, and I was contacted by one of the leaders of an affiliate organization involved in hiring and managing Navigators. When I meet with them I’ll let you know how it goes and give them a chance to provide their side of the story.

Yesterday we received to the tip line a link to a detailed post written by a reader about some of the organizations involved in the Navigator program here in Georgia. Here’s a bit of it, but be sure to read the entire post.

…On the other hand, SEEDCO, which recently received $2.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services to provide navigators in Georgia, has an extremely troubling record of padding claims about numbers of clients served. How troubling? The New York Times actually went after them; the federal government actually filed charges against them, and they were actually found guilty of those charges, something that happens to big nonprofits wasting/stealing tax dollars about as frequently as the moon turns to blue cheese. Luckily for SEEDCO and their extremely well remunerated CEO, Barbara Dwyer Gunn, the feds settled on the hilarious punishment that they must pay back a fraction of the taxpayer money they fraudulently pocketed and agree to actually follow, you know, laws from now on.

And this:

So Georgia Watch is a big cheerleader for Obamacare. Why is this a problem? Well, for one thing, they have Kaiser Permanente on their board, and if that doesn’t scream “conflict of interest,” I don’t know if those words mean anything at all. Now, it’s fine to have Kaiser (and the AARP) on your board, but don’t then pretend you don’t have skin in the game.

These “champions of Georgia consumers” have also been silent on Obamacare’s negative effects on consumers.

When Georgia Watch goes after Georgia Power or some of the other industries they monitor, they apply a very different set of standards than the ones they practice themselves. I have no particular love for Georgia Power or any other company that engages in crony capitalism while monopolizing a service I must purchase, but I also see no difference between Georgia Power profiting from their government monopoly in energy and Kaiser Permanente profiting from their new government monopoly in healthcare (yes, it’s essentially a single-payer monopoly they divvy up with other big healthcare insurers — all the worst aspects of our old system and the worst aspects of socialized medicine, rolled up into one).

Thank you Tina Trent for putting this together and sending to us.

Discuss.

griftdrift November 20, 2013 at 9:11 am

One pill makes you larger / And one pill makes you small

John Konop November 20, 2013 at 9:34 am

Buzz,

If I follow your logic on the monopoly….does that mean you want to change Georgia laws on mandatory car insurance, bonding laws which are mandatory………? Do you think the current system is a monopoly since the insurance commission must approve insurance products?

Tina Trent November 21, 2013 at 7:28 am

Good question, John.

We are all required to carry certain types of car insurance. The requirements have evolved, in Georgia at least, to be pretty minimal. It’s like catastrophic care. But there are many choices for coverage that rises above that minimum. And your performance counts — get ten tickets and your prices soar. And you pay for it yourself — no government subsidies. And you can choose to organize your life to not have a car.

Obamacare takes the health insurance industry in the opposite direction and towards an insurance company + government monopoly system — where we all must purchase a product that is the same for each company and far above what anyone calls catastrophic care. Those who think insurers haven’t gotten into bed with the government to maximize their benefits from the deal are wildly naive. At its simplest, it is a tax scheme designed to force everyone who earns above a fairly low threshold to subsidize expensive benefits for people who can’t or won’t organize their lives and families to pay for things like dental care for their own children.

Incidentally, taxpayers are already subsidizing a great deal of free care for the indigent and less-than-indigent, including Peachcare, Grady Hospital services (locally), and an enormous infrastructure of community health services. Nobody has said word one about whether we’re going to lower a single one of those subsidies now. My guess is they’ll bleed us dry until they can’t anymore. It’s like food stamp expansion — children get fed at school, they get food sent home with them, schools stay open in the summer to keep feeding kids — it’s an ever-growing subsidy, yet reporters and politicians never mention this when they bemoan our “stinginess” with the corrupt food stamp program. Maximum dependency/maximum taxation is the ambition, and the amount of private industry being “nationalized” through Obamacare matters.

My objection is to Georgia Watch trumpeting its victories over Georgia Power’s control of a marketplace and clout in government while covering up identical interests and powers possessed by members of their board in the healthcare field — while purporting to be advocating objectively for consumers and not disclosing these interests.

Technically, what I’m objecting to is a form of socialist fascism, in which capitalist industries and government join forces and amass powers over the rest of us. But fascism is an understandably fraught and distracting term. Monopoly is the substitute. “Regulation” doesn’t quite express the scale of this thing, and scale matters.

John Konop November 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

…………..Obamacare takes the health insurance industry in the opposite direction and towards an insurance company + government monopoly system — where we all must purchase a product that is the same for each company and far above what anyone calls catastrophic care…………..

First I have made the point numerous times the bill does not deal with bending the cost curve enough. Your statement is not exactly true…..The issue is that if the person is under insured and does not have the money we tax payers end up paying for it anyways…..one way or another ie county taxes, fees, insurance cost…….As you are aware……If people are not required to have insurance or under insured they end using tax payers as an emergency healthcare provider.

….Incidentally, taxpayers are already subsidizing a great deal of free care for the indigent and less-than-indigent, including Peachcare, Grady Hospital services (locally), and an enormous infrastructure of community health services. Incidentally, taxpayers are already subsidizing a great deal of free care for the indigent and less-than-indigent, including Peachcare, Grady Hospital services (locally), and an enormous infrastructure of community health services…….

This is why I have proposed concepts like having an 800 number for non-emergency care, which I am sure the Walmart, Kroger, drug store industry would pay for via quick referrals to them for medicine….and their business model works on people buying other products…which is why if we used VA pricing on drugs it would not be a major issue because they make more money on the other products they sell…..The above would lower the cost on tax payers……

griftdrift November 21, 2013 at 9:44 am

What I’m really interested in is how all this affects employment stability. Particularly in the dairy industry.

Scott65 November 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm

“We are all required to carry certain types of car insurance. The requirements have evolved, in Georgia at least, to be pretty minimal. It’s like catastrophic care. But there are many choices for coverage that rises above that minimum. And your performance counts — get ten tickets and your prices soar. And you pay for it yourself — no government subsidies. And you can choose to organize your life to not have a car.”

Problem is that there is a distinct cause/effect with driving, and you can chose not to drive…so your apples/oranges does not hold weight. You dont chose to get sick and if you are sick you cant “opt out” of your health.

“Incidentally, taxpayers are already subsidizing a great deal of free care for the indigent and less-than-indigent, including Peachcare, Grady Hospital services (locally), and an enormous infrastructure of community health services. Nobody has said word one about whether we’re going to lower a single one of those subsidies now. My guess is they’ll bleed us dry until they can’t anymore.”

In fact, due to Gov Deals refusal to expand Medicaid, many hospital subsidies are going to be drastically reduced. Many rural hospitals will have to go out of business because they wont be reimbursed for indigent care as envisioned in the ACA. The Medicaid expansion would solve this. If a region has no hospital than its very hard to attract jobs and new business…fyi.
If you live in one of those areas…you might “bleed dry” literally before you can get to a hospital.

“It’s like food stamp expansion — children get fed at school, they get food sent home with them, schools stay open in the summer to keep feeding kids — it’s an ever-growing subsidy, yet reporters and politicians never mention this when they bemoan our “stinginess” with the corrupt food stamp program. ”

Ok…those damned poor kids getting to eat…so corrupt they have a fraud rate of less that 1%. You attack one of the few programs that actually work, but you dont care…not on your dime…well, you get to claim that ground when you dont receive any benefit from government…which is never. Stingy is a polite label for what that comment implies.

“Technically, what I’m objecting to is a form of socialist fascism, in which capitalist industries and government join forces and amass powers over the rest of us. ”

My favorite…shows you have no clue what either of the words socialist or fascist mean. I’m not sure you will find many “socialist fascists”…but feel free to keep trying. Try wikipeadia if you are confused.

griftdrift November 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Given this definition, “industries and government join forces and amass powers over the rest of us”, I think she’s going for a different modifier for socialist but probably doesn’t want to use it because as she says it is “fraught” and distracting. But we all know what it is. Because anyone who has studied their mid-20th century history knows “industries and government join forces and amass powers over the rest of us” is a textbook definition of the actual “distracting” terminology.

Not that Tina will ever respond. After all, you and I, in her words, lack integrity and therefore are rightly ignored.

John Konop November 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm

The real issue is culture….you need to stop drinking beer and upgrade to red wine….you would be seen in a different light :)

Tina Trent November 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm

No, I’m ignoring you because you guys are making some pretty incoherent, overly-personal, or irrelevant arguments.

Socialist fascism — try . . . Hitler and Stalin. There’s more than that, but they tend to suck all the air out of the room. This is a pretty low-ball concept, guys.

The quantification of fraud in food stamps does not analyze supplementary nutrition from multiple sources. It just doesn’t.

John Konop November 22, 2013 at 7:41 pm

What points did I make that are incoherent?

griftdrift November 23, 2013 at 12:21 am

Incoherent. Lacking integrity. Irrelevant.

I’ve been called worse.

griftdrift November 20, 2013 at 9:35 am

I’m just really sad to learn that ice cream truck operator is not stable employment

John Vestal November 20, 2013 at 11:48 am

At least shoveling horse___ is! (ba-dump-bump) :>)

2g Strategies (@2gstrategies) November 20, 2013 at 9:45 am

From @peachpundit Follow up on Georgia Navigators. – Last week I challenged media and basically anyone willing to … http://t.co/5kBfSMZz9N

ryanhawk November 20, 2013 at 9:55 am

I’ve got something for you Buzz.

Ever heard of AmeriGroup? AmeriGroup manages Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare, ABD, and Long-Term Care programs in 13 states. AmeriGroup strongly supports Obamacare (which will be very profitable for them). For example, here is a statement from AmeriGroup’s chairman on the Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare: “The court’s decision is an important step in our nation’s efforts to reform health care, to make it more affordable for and accessible to individuals.”

How is this relevant? Well it just so happens that AmeriGroup has at least one influential Georgia politician on their payroll. Renee Unterman chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee but does not appear to disclose her employment by AmeriGroup on her Senate Biography or campaign website. She does disclose her employment on the required “Financial Disclosure” but does not disclose either how much she is paid or what she does for AmeriGroup.

Chairing the Senate HHS Committe, which controls legislation effecting eligibility and reimbursement levels for Medicaid and other healthcare programs suggests a conflict of interest that should be fully disclosed if not eliminated. I would certainly enjoy hearing Untermann explain AmeriGroup’s position on Obamacare. The public deserves to know where Unterman stands on Obamacare and how she separates her own beliefs from those of the people signing her paychecks.

Harry November 20, 2013 at 10:24 am
seenbetrdayz November 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Well the IRS will soon hold her accountable for her crimes.

@kathynoble November 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Follow up on Georgia Navigators. — Peach Pundit http://t.co/FgtJFx6JHx

Donald Palmisano Jr. (@DPalmisanoMAG) November 20, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Follow up on Georgia Navigators. — Peach Pundit http://t.co/BrY1HDJx8n

benevolus November 21, 2013 at 7:38 pm

OK Tina Trent, (if that’s your real name), Clark Howard is also on the board of Georgia Watch. Is he tainted too?

Harry November 22, 2013 at 12:10 am

Clark Howard goes out of his way to avoid talking about some hot topics.

Tina Trent November 22, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Benevolus — I won’t stoop to answer that to a guy who lacks the nerve to use a real name –

Clark Howard needs to step up and acknowledge the ethical inconsistencies. I trust him to do that, based on his reputation. I hope they do it. Currently, yes, he is tainted. He is on a board that includes fiscal beneficiaries of something they’re promoting politically — including going mum on consumer problems.

I expect better.

benevolus November 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm

You sure are judgmental about people you don’t know.

Tina Trent November 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I don’t understand why this is such an enormous issue to folks like you. You’re choosing to hide who you are while demanding that other people answer questions you’re posing — at least own the choice of your refusal to meet eye to eye. That would be consistent.

benevolus November 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm

The enormity of the issue is the hilariousness of it. I mean, I don’t know that “Tina Trent” is your real name just because you say it is, so the whole idea of this is ridiculous.

“Folks like me” perhaps are more interested in ideas than personalities.

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