September 19, 2013

Crapo, Risch Co-Sponsor Measure To Protect Idahoans Private Information

Proper privacy protections must be in place before health care law exchanges move forward

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are co-sponsoring a new bill introduced by the Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).  The Trust But Verify Act will prevent the implementation of health insurance exchanges established under Obamacare until the U.S. Government Accountability Office and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General can verify that the proper tools are in place to protect the private information of enrollees. 

"Proper safeguards must be in place to protect the personal privacy of Americans participating in any health care exchange," Crapo said.  "The information technology that will be used to protect personal information stored in the Federal Data Services Hub has only just been completed, yet the exchanges are scheduled to open October 1. There is no independent verification that the privacy of millions of Americans will be protected.  Almost daily, we learn more about undisclosed government data collection efforts, absent Americans' consent, such as by the National Security Agency, Internal Revenue Service and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Safeguards must be in place before these exchanges move ahead."

"It is imperative that the Obama administration be held accountable to make absolutely certain that the data systems for the exchanges are secure," Risch said.  "While my clear and strong preference is to see a full repeal of Obamacare, the least that the administration can do is delay implementation until we can be entirely sure that the American people will not be at risk when they submit sensitive personal information to the Data Hub."

Obamacare mandates on October 1, 2013, a new online marketplace of health insurance exchanges opens for enrollment by uninsured individuals.  Individuals signing up will be required to provide personal information, including Social Security numbers and financial and household income information, into the Federal Data Services Hub (Data Hub).  The Data Hub is an information-sharing network that would allow state and federal agencies to verify a person's eligibility for federal benefits.  The administration announced last week that the Data Hub was ready for operation, but the hurried launch of the program to support the exchanges has raised questions about the sufficiency of security protections. 

Crapo and Risch added, "This bill highlights yet another problem in the existing list regarding the rollout of the health care law.  We remain steadfast in our opposition to the law, and our work to defund and repeal it continues."