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See — Obamacare is already creating jobs

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By Doug Powers  •  April 4, 2013 01:26 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

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The Affordable Care Act will be made a bit more expensive because evidently those who sign up will have to be issued a taxpayer-provided personal red tape sherpa to help them navigate the treacherous and unpredictable “pass it to find out what’s in it” landscape:

Tens of thousands of health care professionals, union workers and community activists hired as “navigators” to help Americans choose Obamacare options starting Oct. 1 could earn $20 an hour or more, according to new regulations issued Wednesday.

The 63-page rule covering navigators, drawn up by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, also said the government will provide free translators for those not fluent in English — no matter what their native language is.

“The proposed requirements would also include that such entities and individuals provide consumers with information and assistance in the consumer’s preferred language, at no cost to the consumer, which would include oral interpretation of non-English languages and the translation of written documents in non-English languages when necessary to ensure meaningful access,” said the regulations.

The rules also addressed conflict of interest and other potential issues that navigators could face as the public’s first stop on the Obamacare trail.

It is still not clear how many navigators will be required. California, however, provides a hint. It wants 21,000.

That could be an expensive proposition. The proposed rules, now open for public comment, suggest an estimated pay of $20-$48 an hour.

Chances are your Obamacare application sherpa (look for the Union label) will also need a sherpa:

Applying for benefits under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul could be as daunting as doing your taxes.

The government’s draft application runs 15 pages for a three-person family. An outline of the online version has 21 steps, some with additional questions.

Seven months before the Oct. 1 start of enrollment season for millions of uninsured Americans, the idea that getting health insurance could be as easy as shopping online at Amazon or Travelocity is starting to look like wishful thinking.

At least three major federal agencies, including the IRS, will scrutinize your application. Checking your identity, income and citizenship is supposed to happen in real time, if you apply online.

That’s just the first part of the process, which lets you know if you qualify for financial help. The government asks to see what you’re making because Obama’s Affordable Care Act is means-tested, with lower-income people getting the most generous help to pay premiums.

Once you’re finished with the money part, actually picking a health plan will require additional steps, plus a basic understanding of insurance jargon.

Oh come on, what could possibly be difficult to understand about this?

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**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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