By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
The community organizers are coming.
Backed by federal cash, community health centers around Montana collectively will hire 27 workers tasked only with pushing more people into Obamacare.
Last week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $150 million in community health center grants, money that will go to hire more than 1,100 Obamacare outreach workers across the country.
HHS will give 16 Montana health centers almost $1.5 million to hire the 27 workers a year. The federal agency expects Treasure State outreach coordinators will enroll more than 14,000 people in health programs.
Funds will flow to clinics in Billings, Cut Bank, Missoula, Butte and Great Falls, among others. Here’s a look at the distribution:
What exactly will these workers do for the next year? In short, they’ll help people enroll in Medicaid if they qualify, or inform them of their option to purchase coverage through the exchange, an Amazon.com of health insurance that’s a key tenet of the health reform law.
“Investing in health centers means that people in neighborhoods and towns across the country have one more resource to help them understand their insurance options and enroll in affordable coverage,” Sebelius said in a news release.
Outreach workers likely will work with community groups and nonprofits to spread the word about Obamacare. They’ll certainly have their work cut out for them. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released earlier this year revealed that more than 40 percent of Americans are unaware that Obamacare is the law of the land.
Ben Domenec , a research fellow at the conservative Heartland Institute, longtime skeptics of Obama’s health reform law, says the money only means more bureaucracy and overhead costs added to an already-bloated health system.
“There are already thousands of employees focused on enrolling people in Medicaid and CHIP at these health centers, but HHS wants to double the number, because they understand that the more people they shove into this unsustainable program, the harder it will be to repeal,” Domenech told Watchdog.org last week.
Domenech and others allege that the workers hired will act as public relations specialists with the sole intent of propping up Obamacare.
“They’re going to use this money to hire Obamacare promoters, who will push people who come through their doors to sign up for taxpayer-subsidized coverage, whether through Medicaid, the CHIP or the (private insurance) exchanges,” he told Watchdog.org.
Contact Dustin Hurst at Dustin@Watchdog.org