Nation & World briefs, 5-25-14

Published:

DOVER, Del. -- Republican lawmakers around the country are adding criminal background checks or licensing requirements for workers hired to help people enroll in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, taking aim at perceived security risks involving customers' personal information.

More than a dozen GOP-controlled states have passed legislation tightening requirements for the enrollment counselors, and bills in other states are pending. While the federal government does not require criminal background checks for navigators, states can set their own rules.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last month signed a bill requiring licensing and background checks for navigators who help people buy health insurance on the federal marketplace. Republican proponents said the requirements will help protect consumers from identity theft. Louisiana's legislature unanimously approved a similar measure with a Senate vote Tuesday.

Still, there's no sign that enrollment guides, even those with criminal records, have misused consumers' personal information in any state.

"I have no idea what's motivating them, but I have seen efforts over the past few years to make Obamacare fall apart, and this may be part of that," said Alfred Blumstein, a Carnegie Mellon University criminologist who has written about hiring ex-offenders.

Indy 500 fan killed: Authorities said an argument preceded the shooting death of a 25-year-old Indiana man who was camping in a parking lot near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. One person is in custody. Max Levine, 25, of Kokomo, was shot early Saturday morning in Coke Lot 1C, Speedway Police Lt. Trent Theobald said in a news release. He told The Indianapolis Star that there was a verbal altercation before the shooting. Police did not provide further information about the person in custody. The Coke Lot is a popular spot across the street from the speedway, where Indy 500 race fans have set up tents and partied on race weekend for decades.

Leaders detained: In a chilling move apparently aimed at neutralizing critics and potential opposition, Thailand's new army junta on Saturday ordered dozens of outspoken activists, academics and journalists to surrender themselves to military authorities. The junta, which is already holding most of the government it ousted in a coup Thursday in secret locations against their will, said it would keep former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and others in custody for up to a week to give them "time to think" and keep the country calm. Two days after the army seized power in the nation's first coup in eight years, it also faced scattered protests that came amid growing concern over the junta's intentions. Also Saturday, the military dissolved the Senate -- the last functioning democratic institution left, and absorbed its legislative powers.

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