|The hearing was a joke. Rather than allow actual navigators to testify about their work or provide useful information about the services they offer, Issa showed a clip of Bill O'Reilly, noted health care expert:
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pushed back strongly against Issa and Sessions' efforts, which included an anti-ACA op-ed in the Dallas Morning News. She said Monday's hearing was "designed to stifle, intimidate and impugn the reputation of people who have been working hard to help their fellow Texans get covered."
6.4 million Texans are uninsured, including 1 million children and more than 100,000 veterans. It is unconscionable that Darrell Issa would use his office and position as committee chair to attempt to dissuade, confuse, or prevent these individuals from gaining access to insurance through navigators.
A wide range of Texas Democratic officials and non-profit organizations working with navigators to enroll Texas issued press statements in response to the hearing. Progress Texas has them rounded up here.
Texas Organizing Project, one of the organizations leading the charge in advocating for the expansion of health care and insurance access in Texas, slammed the hearing:
"This Congressional hearing is sham, a witch hunt and frankly, a waste of taxpayer money," said Allison Brim, TOP Field Director. "To allow only certain testimony shows that the true motivation of this hearing is political gain rather than problem solving for Dallas county and Texas residents. Texas families need access to affordable healthcare. We need assisters on the ground to help walk us through the enrollment process and we need to expand healthcare coverage. None of those things are being accomplished through this hearing. It's shameful."
If you're not familiar with navigators, they are trained specialists who help individuals find the right insurance plans for themselves or their families. They do great work helping uninsured Texans, and it was wrong of these Congressmen to smear their effort.
Meanwhile, the December 23 deadline to sign up for coverage that begins January 1. If you or a friend or family member needs help, there are bilingual English-Spanish offices open in major cities across the state where you can get in-person help.
Here's the list, via Progress Texas:
Please share these locations with your friends and families!
San Antonio - 9023 Huebner Rd, Suite 102 San Antonio TX 78240 ** Phone: (210) 347-1274 ** Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8AM-8PM
Houston - 1112 Eldridge Parkway Houston TX 77077 ** Phone: 832-557-7680 (main) ** Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8AM-8PM
Austin - 6800 Westgate Blvd, Suite 110 Austin TX 78745 ** Phone: 512-534-0802 ** Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8AM-8PM, Sat 10AM - 6PM
McAllen - 220 W Expressway 83, McAllen TX 78201 ** Phone: 210-382-4888 ** Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8AM-4:30 PM, Sat-10AM - 6PM
Dallas - 9550 Forest Lane, Suite 502 Dallas TX 75243 ** Phone: (469) 435-9058 ** Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8AM-8PM, Sat 10AM - 6PM
Congress should be helping more Texans get covered, not trying to trick or mislead them into avoiding resources specifically designed to help.