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Bill Mandates Background, Credit Checks for Health Site Navigators in Kansas

A bill requiring background and credit checks for the navigators who help people sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act won initial approval in the Kansas Senate. Republican supporters say Senate Bill 362 would ensure that consumers can trust the people with whom they are share sensitive health information. But Democrats say the bill is a politically motivated attack on the health care act and would make it more difficult to sign up Kansans for coverage. “The federal government ignored protection of the consumer and left them open to serious risks of fraud and identity theft,” said Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, who carried the legislation. She cited an October report from the conservative news site the Daily Caller that a navigator in Lawrence had an outstanding arrest warrant. But Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, said that if the bill’s intent was solely to protect consumers, it would merely require a background check and not a credit check, which she said is invasive. The bill also requires navigators to pay an application fee of $100 and an annual filing fee of $250. Kelly said these provisions are meant to discourage people from becoming navigators.

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