Turner Speaks Out Against Proposed Navigator Regulations

With 6.4 million uninsured in Texas, state agency needs to put people ahead of politics

AUSTIN – Today, state Representative Chris Turner attended the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) hearing on the proposed rules regarding the regulation of navigators to share his concerns. The following are excerpts from his prepared remarks:

“After the September 30 hearing and subsequent meetings, I had begun to hope that the proposed rules might reflect the legitimate concerns that have been laid for the last two months by elected officials and navigators, nonprofit organizations and others who are working hard every day to connect uninsured Texans with access to affordable health insurance.

These rules, for the most part, do not appear they are aimed at protecting consumers; rather, they seem clearly intended to make a political statement, a statement that if it’s made, will be done to the determent of millions of uninsured Texans.

For some organizations, the financial impact could very well force them out of providing navigator services altogether, which will have a negative impact on our state.

Now, everyone knows that politics is everywhere when it comes to the ACA. Navigators have simply become the latest easy target in an all-out assault on the Affordable Care Act.

The Texas Department of Insurance mission and purpose is too important to allow the agency to become a political prop. This agency’s mission should be far above election year politics and posturing. If elected officials think attacking the ACA will help them win an election, I respect their right to do that. That’s why we have elections.

But what I can’t respect — and none of us should tolerate — are officeholders pressuring an agency to adopt punitive, overreaching and unnecessary regulations in an effort to derail a law that they simply don’t like.

The bottom line is, these rules won’t help the 6.4 million Texas consumers who lack health insurance.“