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Arizona Legislature approves bill to regulate health care navigators

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Legislature has approved a measure requiring extra licensing and background checks for navigators who help people buy health insurance on the federal marketplace.

The Senate approved House Bill 2508 with a 19-10 vote on Wednesday after exempting workers on tribal lands who have already passed a background check. The House agreed with the changes on a 36-21 vote later in the day, sending the bill to Gov. Jan Brewer.

The bill requires the state Insurance Department to license navigators.

Republican proponents say the requirements protect consumers from identity theft. Democrats call them an attempt to slow down enrollment in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and unnecessary because navigators have contracts with the federal government.

Navigators help people pick insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange.

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