Republican Launches Obamacare Data-Privacy Plan

This December 2, 2013 photo shows a woman reading the insurance marketplace internet site in Washington, D.C.
National Journal
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Laura Ryan
Dec. 16, 2013, 7:04 a.m.

Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Di­ane Black of Ten­ness­ee is push­ing le­gis­la­tion to re­quire the gov­ern­ment to no­ti­fy in­di­vidu­als if their per­son­al in­form­a­tion is swiped off the Af­ford­able Care Act’s in­sur­ance ex­changes.

The le­gis­la­tion, in­tro­duced Fri­day, is aimed at high­light­ing po­ten­tial se­cur­ity is­sues with the on­line in­sur­ance en­roll­ment sites. Re­pub­lic­ans, as part of a broad­er cam­paign to high­light what they con­sider the law’s flaws, main­tain that the ex­changes are put­ting per­son­al data at risk.

“Wheth­er through nav­ig­at­ors with no back­ground checks, or in­ad­equate se­cur­ity-test­ing on their web­site, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has thrown Amer­ic­ans’ data se­cur­ity out the win­dow when it comes to Obama­care,” Black said­in a state­ment. “IT ex­perts have re­peatedly raised red flags about the se­cur­ity of the in­form­a­tion people are put­ting in­to the ex­changes, and it is only fair that the ad­min­is­tra­tion gives people prop­er no­tice if this in­form­a­tion has been com­prom­ised.”

But the sever­ity of the data-theft threats re­mains a mat­ter of con­ten­tion.

Demo­crats main­tain that the Re­pub­lic­ans’ at­tacks are un­foun­ded. Rep. Henry Wax­man, D-Cal­if., re­leased part of a clas­si­fied Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment brief­ing Fri­day that re­por­ted only 32 se­cur­ity in­cid­ents since Oct. 1, none of which in­volved a suc­cess­ful theft of any in­form­a­tion.

Re­pub­lic­ans are con­cerned about data breaches be­cause of the sens­it­ive per­son­al in­form­a­tion, such as So­cial Se­cur­ity num­bers, needed to en­roll on the web­site.


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