The Navigator Nightmare—Why the Biden Administration Should Reject Wasteful Health Care Spending

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It’s difficult at times to remember how the world was before COVID-19, but let’s take a break from 2020/2021 and look back for a moment in 2013—the year of the ObamaCare rollout. At that time, a line item of more than $100 million found its way into the budget for federal marketplace spending. These funds were for health care “navigators,” designed to sign people up for ObamaCare.

Here’s how it worked: The Obama administration doled out millions to their favorite community organizations so they could employ individuals to sign up individuals for the program. Perhaps best described as a “slush fund for progressive constituent groups,” these navigators raked up unfathomable bills—and were taken aback when critics dared to inquire as to whether this was a good use of taxpayer resources.

What kind of bills are we talking about? In the 2016 open enrollment, 17 navigators enrolled 100 people each at the cost of $5,000 per enrollee. One navigator grant recipient received $200,000 in taxpayer dollars to enroll just one individual. Meanwhile, 78 percent of navigators failed to achieve their enrollment goal. Tens of millions of dollars were flushed down the drain of government waste to prop up an unsustainable health care bureaucracy and funnel resources to favored groups.