This week HHS opened up the grant application process to receive PPACA money for Navigators. From Bob's earlier post it sounds like easy money that can be made hand over fist. So with $54,000,000 in grants available, I figured why not head over to grants.gov to take a peak at the application process for myself.
The primary goals of Navigators are to maintain expertise in eligibility, enrollment, and program specifications as well as to conduct public education activities to raise awareness of Exchanges. Navigators are simply educators and facilitators. Nothing more, and nothing less. So when I went to the award information portion in the 41 page announcement my eyebrows were raised. It was there where my inner Inspector Gadget began to kick in. Under section 1 titled: Total Funding was the sentence: "This cooperative agreement funding opportunity is financed by 2013 Prevention and Public Health Funds (PPHF-2013)."
Buried in PPACA was this $10 Billion dollar gem known as the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The (slush) fund was established "to provide expanded and sustained national investments in prevention and public health, to improve health outcomes, and to enhance health care quality." Further, the fund must statutorily "improve health and help restrain the rate of growth in private and public sector health care costs." Moreover, the fund doesn't have to follow standard federal budget guidelines meaning HHS and it's subagencies have total control over how the money is spent.
So, how then does a Navigator improve health or restrain the rate of growth in health care costs?
This is just another example of government being above the law that they had to pass before they could find out what was in it.