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By now the Republican House Energy and Commerce Committee's outrageous efforts to sabotage the work of community organizations working to educate the uninsured about Obamacare is big news. The committee sent letters to 51 organizations who received grants to do community outreach with "navigators, people trained to help uninsured people access the exchanges, demanding reams and reams of information." Those groups, including hospitals, universities, Indian tribes, patient advocacy groups and food banks, have just until September 13 to comply with the committee's demands.

Now, one of the victims of that sabotage is speaking out.

"I find the letter quite offensive," says Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which received a $1.9 million grant. "It is shocking. It is absolutely shocking." [...]

"Was this an attempt by members of the committee to basically stop and slow down the navigator process?" Hamler-Fugitt says. "We’re going to stop now and pull together voluminous documents to provide back to the committee?"

Some of those documents don't yet exist, she says. "We weren't required to provide position papers, salary ranges, privacy policies or procedures. You don’t do that until you know that you got the award." [...]

"It's going to be very, very time consuming at the very time we're trying to get our [organization running]. No one’s even been hired yet," Hamler-Fugitt adds. "Not one penny has been drawn on this grant." Some of the smaller nonprofits that are part of the food bank’s network of local organizations slated to do the outreach, she says, may withdraw from the program entirely.

Of course this is an effort to slow down the navigator process, to stop it if they can. The fact that the groups the Republicans focus on are in the states that have the greatest need, the most uninsured and thus the most to gain, makes their motives entirely clear. There's nothing about oversight involved here—these groups haven't even progressed far enough in the process to have done anything to require oversight. It is all about trying to cripple the law. And it's about preventing people from getting the health insurance the law provides them.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 12:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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