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by
Bridget Johnson

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August 13, 2013 - 6:16 am

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called on the administration to not force people onto healthcare exchanges when the government is missing testing deadlines on the security of personal and financial data.

McConnell’s letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Monday came on the heels of a Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General’s report last week that said CMS had missed deadlines and benchmarks on securing data of individuals on government exchanges.

“Americans should not be forced to enter into exchanges when CMS is so ill-prepared to guarantee the protection of personal data and taxpayer resources from hackers and cyber criminals who would use this sensitive data for personal gain,” the minority leader wrote to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

“As you know, I oppose Obamacare and support its full repeal. Yet in recent months, even some of the Administration’s closest allies have raised alarms about the potential implementation ‘train wreck’ to come. While I believe we ought to repeal this law and replace it with commonsense reforms that lower cost, Americans ought to be assured, at an absolute minimum, that their personal and financial data will be safe from data thieves,” he added.

McConnell notes that HHS does not expect a final report from an independent testing organization assessing the system’s security until 10 days before launch — “hardly enough time to fix any problems that may be identified.”

“Adding to these concerns are reports that CMS has signed a $1.2 billion contract with a company to receive, sort, and evaluate applications for financial assistance in the exchanges that include personal, sensitive data. According to published reports, this particular company ‘has little experience with the Department of Health Human Services or the insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, where individuals and small businesses are supposed to be able to shop for insurance,’” the senator continued. “And just last year, it was disclosed that more than 120,000 enrollees in the federal Thrift Savings Plan had their personal information, including Social Security numbers, stolen from your contractor’s computers in 2011.”

He requested that CMS not rush forward with any sloppy security certification just to meet an Obamacare timeline.

“While I have grave concerns about this law under any circumstance, Americans should not be forced into the exchanges, and certainly not without these assurances,” McConnell said. “If you rush to go forward without adequate safeguards in place, any theft of personal information from constituents will be the result of your rush to implement a law to meet the agency’s political needs and not the operational needs of the people it is supposed to serve.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
N. Gingrich spoke well this week and is right about the needed conservative response to Obamacare. The Republicans must offer an alternative to Obamacare soon or quit complaining about what a piece of junk it is. The time is past for finger pointing but may not come again for offering real solutions to the real problems concerning lack of available and affordable medical care. Two ideas that have been around a while are to allow health insurance purchases over state lines and to increase taxpayer eligibility for medical care deductions. I am certain there are more ideas to propose that meet the affordability and availability standards. Let's get going.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
if one were trying to destroy America, what would one do differently than what is being done by this cabal of deviants? imho, at this late date, nothing short of outright conflict can steer our republic back into it appropriate course. these criminals have seized the government and are ignoring our constitution, plain and simple. kypd
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
He implores? Well, gee, Mitch, thank you SO much for standing as a Champion of the People on this. So why won't you stand with conservative Republicans in the fight to defund The Mother of All Crap Sandwiches? Show some spine, man.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
While McConnell's stand is admirable, it's a real straw man argument. There is no patient privacy in HIPAA because of a huge loophole in the law. Under HIPAA, any healthcare provider is allowed to sign 'HIPAA business partner' agreements, under which data can be shared regardless of a need to know. Further, the 'business partner' can sign business partner agreements with other organizations or individuals and pass the data along to them. There is no genuine privacy in HIPAA, therefore data security protections in obamacare aren't protecting very much. McConnell is setting up a way to oppose obamacare for his constituents and contributors while not really stopping it. He's another big-government RINO, but needs to pretend that he's not.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obamacare is a very frustrating, expensive boondoggle. Having lived under socialized medicine, I am not looking forward to being subjected to its foibles again. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be going away. The nighmare has just begun. http://coldwarwarrior.com/
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The loopholes within Obamacare are not for nothing, and they are designed for mischief making. There is little doubt that the mountain of regs, and 'inexplicable' mandates, are meant to bankrupt the system. And, herein lies its essence - http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/02/18/obamas-march-towards-gun-control-runs-through-obamacare-via-its-definition-of-mentally-ill-commentary-by-adina-kutnicki/

Is it any wonder that it has turned out to be a NIGHTMARE?

Adina Kutncki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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