As if the insurance application process will not be complicated enough, HHS’s proposed application includes an inquiry about something totally unrelated to health insurance – a question seeking information from the applicant about their voter registration status. After completing the online application and learning of their eligibility status for various insurance policies, the applicant is then asked on page 59, “Would you like to register to vote?” The placement of the question could lead some to think their subsidy eligibility is contingent on voter registration.
Additionally, since many of these applications will be administered by “navigators,” which may include politically active tax-exempt organizations such as Families USA, AARP or associations like the now-defunct ACORN, it raises questions as to why HHS is gathering voter information, how the agency intends to use such information and how the information could be used by the navigators.
Boustany called on Secretary Sebelius to respond in writing by April 8, 2013. The letter can be read here.