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Black: Incorrect Obamacare Tax Info Sent to Consumers ‘Beyond Embarrassing’ for Obama

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; February 20, 2015:

Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a member of the Ways & Means Health Subcommittee and nurse for more than 40 years, released the following statement on the news that the Obama Administration sent 800,000 HealthCare.gov customers incorrect tax information, which may result in delayed tax refunds:

“The Obama Administration has built a healthcare law so complex, so confusing, and so costly that even they don’t know how to properly administer it,” said Congressman Diane Black. “From a faulty website, to staggering cost estimates, to more Administration-led delays, the hits just keep coming under Obamacare. Now, the White House tells us in a classic Friday news dump that nearly one million Americans could see their tax refunds delayed because of this President’s inability to implement his own law. This is beyond embarrassing for President Obama and is an unfair blow to taxpayers who are once again left holding the bag for this Administration’s incompetence. Moreover, it is yet another example of why the House voted earlier this month with my support to repeal this disastrous law once and for all.”

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Black: Anthem Data Breach Highlights Healthcare.gov Privacy Risks

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black; R-Tenn. 06; February 5, 2015:

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a member of the Ways & Means Health Subcommittee and nurse for more than 40 years, released the below statement on the Anthem Inc. data breach, which has been called “the largest health care breach to date.”

“While the Anthem Inc. data breach is deeply concerning, I am pleased that the company immediately reported the breach to authorities and informed their customers as required by law. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration continues to play by a different set of rules than those they impose on the private sector. Today, if your healthcare information is compromised under Healthcare.gov, the government is under no obligation to inform you. This comes on top of the news that Healthcare.gov was hacked last year and that the Obama Administration has been sharing users’ personal data with third party vendors. That is why I recently introduced the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015, legislation to bring basic diligence to the Obamacare exchanges by requiring the government to notify users if their information is breached when using Healthcare.gov,” said Congressman Diane Black.

Congressman Black added, “The Anthem data breach should be a teachable moment for the Obama Administration. We all know of the privacy risks that occur in today’s information age but the American people expect their government to mitigate those risks, not make them worse. If the Obama Administration has any regard at all for Americans’ privacy and data security, they will work with me to advance this critical right-to-know legislation.”

Background:
In addition to authoring the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015,Congressman Black recently led a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) demanding information on the Obama Administration’s practice of sharing consumers’ private information through Healthcare.gov. You can read a copy of the letter here.

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Black: Healthcare.gov ‘as Flawed’ as Obamacare

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; January 28, 2015:

[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc7YwAVDXpg[/youtube]

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) spoke on the House floor to highlight continued privacy concerns on Healthcare.gov. As Congressman Black noted in her remarks, the Obama Administration was recently found to have shared users’ personal data – including age, income, zip code, and smoking and pregnancy status – with numerous third party vendors.

Yesterday, Congressman Black and Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA-07) led a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding answers regarding the Administration’s data-sharing practices. Reps. Black and Meehan also reintroduced the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015, legislation requiring the government to notify affected users if their information is breached on the federal healthcare exchanges. Currently, there is no law requiring the federal government to issue these notifications, even though it is required in most state-based exchanges and in the private sector.

A transcript of Rep. Black’s remarks on the House floor are below, or click here for a video.

Mister Speaker, more than a year after its launch, Healthcare.gov remains just as flawed as the underlying Obamacare law itself. Most recently, we learned the Obama Administration was sharing users’ personal data with numerous third party vendors.

When the Administration was caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they quietly scaled this back but many unanswered questions remain. That is why I led a letter with Congressman Pat Meehan demanding answers regarding Healthcare.gov data security and privacy policies.

While we await their reply, we also reintroduced the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act—legislation simply requiring the government to notify consumers if their personal information is breached on the healthcare exchanges.

It defies all logic that this basic requirement isn’t already law – it’s time we change that. I yield back.

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Black Files Legislation to Require Feds Notify Consumers if Data Breached on Healthcare.gov

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; January 27, 2015:

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) and Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-PA-07) led a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner demanding information on the Obama Administration’s practice of sharing consumers’ private information through Healthcare.gov. You can read a copy of the letter here. Reps. Black and Meehan also introduced the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015. This legislation would simply require the government to notify consumers if their personal information is breached on the Healthcare.gov exchanges. Currently there is no such requirement under federal law – despite similar standards being in place for the private sector and state-run exchanges.

The Associated Press reported last week that numerous third-party vendors were given access to consumers’ personal data – including age, income, zip code, and smoking and pregnancy status – through Healthcare.gov. Rep. Black immediately responded to the report, citing “inherent security flaws” in the Healthcare.gov website and calling for data-breach notification legislation to protect users’ personal information when accessing the federal healthcare exchanges. Last Friday, the Obama Administration announced that it would “scale back” data sharing on Healthcare.gov, however it is still unclear what information will continue to be transmitted and what is done with information that was already collected.

As Reps. Black and Meehan point out in their letter to HHS and CMS, the Obama Administration’s practice of disseminating users’ personal information directly contradicts Healthcare.gov’s own privacy policy which states, “No personally identifiable information is collected.” Reps. Black and Meehan released the following statements on their letter and newly introduced legislation:

“I have warned for over a year now of security and privacy concerns under Healthcare.gov. Sadly, from the website’s hacking last summer, to these latest revelations of data-sharing without users’ knowledge or consent, the Obama Administration continues to show that our concerns are well-founded and that Americans’ personal information on this site remains at risk,” said Congressman Diane Black. “Americans deserve the highest standards of privacy and confidentiality when enrolling in health insurance, and they certainly shouldn’t be left holding the bag for this Administration’s failure to maintain a secure website. That is why my letter to the Administration demands answers on Healthcare.gov’s privacy and security standards and seeks information on what data was collected by Healthcare.gov, how long it was stored, and in what way it was secured.”

Congressman Black added, “In light of the Obama Administration’s latest failing, I am proud to reintroduce the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act of 2015. This commonsense legislation will simply require the government to notify affected consumers if their personal information is compromised on Healthcare.gov. It defies all logic that this basic requirement is not already law. I was pleased to carry this legislation in the last Congress and will fight once again for its passage so that Americans can take action to protect themselves in the event of an Obamacare security breach.”

“It is unacceptable that security and privacy failures keep happening with Healthcare.gov,”said Congressman Patrick Meehan. “No American should have to fear their data will be exploited or compromised through HealthCare.gov. The data on the exchanges is among families’ most private, and it should not be shared without a user’s consent. The legislation we have introduced today will ensure that the feds live up to their obligation to disclose data breaches on the federal exchange and come clean with consumers.”

Resources:

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Black: Obama Administration Decision to Limit Healthcare.gov Data Sharing ‘Welcome News’

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; January 23, 2015:

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) released the below statement on the news that the Obama Administration reversed its policy of sharing consumer data on Healthcare.gov. The Associated Press previously reported that “certain personal details — including age, income, and smoking habits — were being passed along, likely without consumers’ knowledge” to third-party sites. In a previous statement, Rep. Black said the revelations point to “inherent security flaws” in the Healthcare.gov website.

“While the Obama Administration’s decision to limit its data sharing practices on Healthcare.gov is certainly welcome news, it begs the question – why was this information shared in the first place? To what extent will the policy actually be ‘scaled back’ and what becomes of the information that was previously collected? Americans are already doubting the Obama Administration’s competence to handle their most personal information, particularly given the successful hacking of Healthcare.gov just last year. This data sharing policy, and the Administration’s sudden about-face in a classic Friday news dump only adds to the laundry list of questions my constituents have regarding the handling of the Obamacare exchanges,” said Congressman Diane Black.

Rep. Black added, “To add to the Obama Administration’s Healthcare.gov woes, this news coincides with the release of a government report finding that the Obama Administration did not bother to properly vet the contractors responsible for developing this website in the first place. With or without the Administration’s risky information-sharing practices in place, Healthcare.gov continues to be a stunning display of the Obama Administration’s haphazard approach to the rollout of this law.”

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TN Senate Dems Call Out Haslam for Not Expanding Medicaid With End of CoverTN

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus; November 27, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today’s announcement that 15,400 Tennesseans will lose their health insurance follows three missed opportunities by Gov. Bill Haslam to avoid it.

“Governor Haslam has had three opportunities to make the new health law work for the benefit of Tennessee families,” House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh said. “Instead, he neglected his responsibility, and thousands of Tennesseans will lose their health insurance after Christmas.”

Gov. Haslam decided last year that Tennessee would not participate in defining the minimum coverage offered by health insurance policies known as “essential health benefits.” He left it to the federal government. He then opted not to establish a state-run exchange, defaulting to healthcare.gov for the purchase of private health insurance policies. More recently, the Governor has declined to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid for working families, a program which would provide basic health care services to thousands of working people across the state. Instead, millions of dollars will go to other states.

What’s more, the Governor could decide to continue CoverTN for one year under the ruling from the Department of Commerce and Insurance that allows health care plans not meeting essential health benefits to be extended for one year.

“The Governor has been given multiple opportunities to influence a health care program for the benefit of small businesses and families across Tennessee,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney. “Unfortunately, inaction has only resulted in a loss of coverage, which will only lead to less health care, poorer health and higher premiums for Tennesseans.”

Finney cited a recent study by the RAND Corporation showing that states that did not expand Medicaid were expected to see premiums increase as much as 10 percent for remaining policyholders.

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Kelsey Protests Sebelius’ Memphis Visit

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; November 1, 2013:

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), November 1, 2013 — State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) announced today that he will appear at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in his district at 1:00 p.m. in protest of the visit of the Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Senator Kelsey will also voice his opposition to Medicaid Expansion in Tennessee.

“Given the failure of Secretary Sebelius in designing the healthcare.gov website, I am 100% opposed to her designing an Obamacare Medicaid expansion plan for Tennessee.”

Sen. Kelsey is the sponsor of Senate Bill 804, filed to block Medicaid expansion in Tennessee. 15 of the 33 state Senators are signed on the bill as co-sponsors. The bill is scheduled to be heard in January at the first meeting of the Senate Finance Committee.

Sen. Kelsey represents Cordova, East Memphis, and Germantown. He serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Alexander Supports Issa’s Subpoena for Exchange Documents

Press release from U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander; October 31, 2013:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 – The senior Republican on the Senate health committee today released the following statement in support of a subpoena issued by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa for Obamacare exchange documents requested by Alexander and Issa:

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “We shouldn’t have to issue a subpoena or pass a law to get the administration to tell us basic information about the Obamacare exchanges, but apparently that’s what it’s going to take. I support Chairman Issa’s subpoena for Secretary Sebelius to provide the documents we’ve requested, and hope it will force open the administration’s black box of secrets that are keeping Congress and the entire American public in the dark.”

Alexander and Issa sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius on October 10th requesting documents related to the major problems with the Obamacare exchange website by October 24th. On October 25th, they sent a follow up letter requesting Sebelius provide the documents by October 28th or face the possibility of a subpoena.

Alexander this week attempted to pass his legislation requiring weekly reports on the Obamacare exchanges, but was blocked by Senate Democrats.

He said then: “Before the Internet, RCA knew how many records Elvis was selling every day. Before the Internet, Ford knew how many cars they were selling every day. Before the Internet, McDonald’s could tell you how many hamburgers it had sold each day. Yet the Obama administration cannot tell us how many Americans have tried to sign up for Obamacare. We ought to know that, taxpayers ought to know it, and we’ll keep trying other ways to get the information the American people deserve to have.”

The six-page Exchange Information Disclosure Act would require the Obama administration to provide weekly reports to Congress, states, and the public about the 36 federally run exchanges, including easily tracked data such as the number of individuals who have visited the site and the number who have successfully enrolled, their zip code, and the level of coverage they’ve obtained. The reports would also be required to contain information on the department’s efforts to resolve the site’s widespread technical problems.

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Alexander Calls for HHS Secretary’s Resignation

Press release from the Office of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander; October 29, 2013:

Says “no private sector CEO would escape accountability after such a poor performance”

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 – The senior Republican on the Senate health committee today (Video HERE) called for President Obama to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “Expecting this secretary to be able to fix in a few weeks what she has not been able to fix during the last three and one half years is unrealistic. It is throwing good money after bad.”

Alexander pointed to at least 1.5 million Americans who are losing health care coverage starting on January 1 because their policies are not legal under Obamacare.

“If the exchange is not working, they will not be able to choose another policy through that exchange. At some point there has to be accountability,” Alexander said. “Taxpayers have spent $400 million to create exchanges that, after three and one half years, still don’t work.”

He continued: “No private sector chief executive officer would escape accountability after such a poor performance. And the principle of accountability is not foreign to the public sector. Admiral Hyman Rickover, father of the nuclear navy, told his submarine captains that they were not only accountable for their ships, but they were also accountable for the nuclear reactor on their ships. If anything went wrong with the reactor, their career in the Navy was over, the Admiral said. As a result of that dose of accountability, since the 1950’s there never has been a death as a result of a problem with a naval submarine reactor.”

“Americans deserve that kind of accountability in the implementation of the new health care law,” he said.

Alexander added: “Instead, the Secretary appears not even to have told the President about known problems with the Obamacare website in the months and days leading up to the launch. Despite repeated requests, she has refused to tell Congress or the public the reasons the Obamacare website continues to fail while insisting on more time and an undisclosed amount of money to fix it.”

“It is time for the President to ask the Secretary of Health and Human Services to resign.”