Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is accusing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House oversight committee, of attempting to "stifle, intimidate and impugn the reputation" of Obamacare navigators, the individuals tasked with helping others sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
In an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, Sebelius said a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Affordable Care Act set to be held in Texas on Monday was "designed" to derail the work of the navigators.
"What opponents of the new law could not do legislatively, at the ballot box, or even by shutting down the federal government, they’re now trying to do through other means," Sebelius writes. "Case in point is Monday’s congressional hearing in Dallas, designed to stifle, intimidate and impugn the reputation of people who have been working hard to help their fellow Texans get covered."
She continues, "With so many Texans lacking affordable coverage, now is not the time to be putting up roadblocks. We should be helping navigators and other assisters in their important work, not demonizing, demoralizing or deterring them."
Monday's hearing will focus on "recent reports of fraudulent activity related to the ObamaCare navigators program," according to a press release issued by the committee last week.
Issa and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) defended the hearing in a separate op-ed appearing in the Morning News.
"While President Barack Obama and other allies of Obamacare continue to publicly tout the law, they have done too little to address serious problems that come with it," the congressmen write. "This hearing, one of a series of hearings investigating the flawed implementation of Obamacare, strives to get the answers that the American people deserve about Obamacare’s navigator program."