In a state staunchly against expanded checks for gun sales, every Obamacare “navigator” in Florida must undergo a background check.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is pushing a bill to make background checks a requirement for all licensed health care navigators across the country.
Rubio argues that felons shouldn't be hired because personal identification and medical information is shared with navigators.
The Healthcare Privacy and Anti-Fraud Act requires fingerprinting, a universal criminal background check, and credit report for anyone seeking a job as an Affordable Care Act navigator.
Critics point out that rapid-fire assault weapons can be purchased without a background check at private gun shows.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a Congressional panel earlier this month that it is “possible” for a navigator to have been convicted on a felony.
“That is possible,” Sebelius said. “We have contracts with the organizations, and they have taken the responsibility to screen their navigators and make sure that they are sufficiently trained for the job, and there’s a self attestation, but it is possible.”
Florida Tea Partiers say there is a substantial fear of privacy violations and fraud.
Everett Wilkinson, a tea party activist in Palm Beach Gardens and insurance agent, says he had a criminal background check to be licensed to sell health insurance.
Obamacare navigators aren’t licensed to sell insurance.
"There's a big difference between having access to someone's personal data, their tax returns and Social Security numbers, and selling a gun," Wilkinson told the Sun Sentinel. "Some people are using this as a political issue, but the nail that sticks out is the nail that gets hammered. This is just one of the many things that are wrong with the legislation called Obamacare."
Republicans say gun checks are an unrelated debate.
"Are Democrats that desperate to change the topic?" said Rubio spokesman Alex Conant. "Sen. Rubio supports preventing criminals from both having guns and being Obamacare navigators. That's why Sen. Rubio is introducing this legislation to crack down on Obamacare fraud and protect consumers."
"I certainly don't want someone convicted of identity theft to have access to my private medical data," said Sean Caranna of Daytona Beach, executive director of the gun group Florida Carry. Caranna underwent a background check before working for a software company that serves hospitals.