McConnell: Don't Open Obamacare Exchanges Without Security Guarantees

McConnell: Don't Open Obamacare Exchanges Without Security Guarantees

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has called on the Obama Administration not to open the Obamacare state health exchanges because the security of Americans’ personal data cannot be assured.

A press release Monday indicated that McConnell sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), asserting that no American should be forced to seek health care coverage on the exchanges scheduled to open on October 1st, especially since the government is missing deadlines to test the systems and cannot guarantee that Americans’ personal and financial data will be kept secure.

McConnell responded to a report by the Inspector General of Health and Human Services (HHS), who stated that CMS has missed deadlines for testing and reporting data security risks associated with signing up for health insurance on the exchanges. The Inspector General indicated that, due to the delays, a final security assessment report is not expected until 10 days before the Federal Data Services Hub is scheduled to open, leaving little time to address any security problems identified.

McConnell addressed his letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and wrote that the exchanges should not open until the Inspector General can verify that Americans’ personal and financial data is protected from hackers and cyber criminals.

According to Reuters, if the exchanges open with security problems, the most common type of security breach would be identity theft, whereby a hacker is able to steal the Social Security numbers and other private data Americans will provide when they sign up to participate in a health insurance plan.

However, Michael Astrue, former Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, indicated that security failures in the exchanges could allow even domestic abusers to use vulnerabilities in the system to locate their victims.

McConnell wrote:

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. 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.

Though McConnell emphasized his own opposition to ObamaCare and support for full repeal of the law, he also observed that in recent months, some of President Obama’s closest allies have also raised serious concerns about the “train wreck” that is soon to come upon the nation:

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.