Obamacare and Identity Theftby Representative George Holding
Posted on 2013-12-12
HOLDING. Madam Speaker, the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare has
shown that those who were quick to sing its praises were not prepared
to actually implement it. It quickly became apparent after the online
exchanges opened that healthcare.gov was unworkable. Folks who were
trying to create accounts and pick a plan were receiving error
messages, being kicked off midway through the process, only to be sent
back to the beginning, experiencing many glitches.
Madam Speaker, the administration and the agencies responsible clearly were not prepared for the launch of healthcare.gov. They blamed issues with the Web site on unexpected volume, which simply does not make sense. ObamaCare requires all Americans to have health insurance or face a fine. There are over 313 million people in the United States, so how could they not expect a high volume? Madam Speaker, the American people are paying for a Web site that doesn't even work, and they are paying an outrageous amount. In her testimony before the Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday, Secretary Sebelius said that the administration has currently spent $319 million on healthcare.gov so far, and Health and Human Services has budgeted $667 million for the Web site through October of next year. At a time when we are over $17 trillion in debt and the government continues to borrow and spend at an unsustainable rate, this is simply unacceptable.
Madam Speaker, the unworkability of this Web site goes beyond error messages and technical problems; it is vulnerable to security breaches as well. In late October, a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services memo showed that administration officials were concerned, due to a lack of testing, healthcare.gov had potential high security risks. And yet they went ahead and launched the Web site anyway.
When an individual uses the Web site to sign up, they enter much of their personal information such as Social Security number and address and so forth. Many individuals who have had problems with the Web site may have entered it several times, and they could be a victim of fraud or identity theft if the Web site is not secure.
Madam Speaker, it is out of concern for the security of people's personal information on healthcare.gov that I have introduced H.R. 3652, the No Identity Theft in Health Care Act, which would increase penalties for navigators or other agency employees who commit identity theft by using information submitted for the purposes of signing up for ObamaCare. Under current Federal law, aggravated identity theft carries a 2-year sentence. My bill would increase the penalty to 5 years in prison for those who use your sensitive information that has been submitted for the purpose of signing up for health care.
Many agency employees who have been tasked with implementing the law and processing Americans' sensitive personal information have not gone through background checks or even been thoroughly screened. My bill would deter navigators and others with access to sensitive information through ObamaCare from stealing the identities of Americans who are simply trying to pick a health care plan. Madam Speaker, we need to do what we can to protect the American people from this harmful law, starting with the security of their personal information.
The problems with the Web site do not overshadow the problems with the law itself, because the real issues with ObamaCare go far beyond an unworkable Web site. I have heard from many of my constituents about their canceled plans, increased costs of premiums, and that they are being offered less choice about which doctors they can see. We need to continue to work toward patient-oriented reforms and focus on protecting the American people from this harmful law.