New Government Watchdog Report Adds to Health Law’s Security Concerns

January 9, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC - A new report from the Health and Human Services Inspector General underscores the reality of security concerns surrounding the health law’s exchanges.  Marketwatch reports, “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services aren’t taking enough precautions to ferret out fraud in electronic health record use as medical providers continue to migrate from conventional paper documents. … The inspector general’s report went on to say that CMS needs to guide contractors on detecting electronic records fraud and it should have contractors use audit logs.”

This report comes just days before the House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 3811, the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act. This commonsense legislation, authored by Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), would require HHS to notify Americans within two business days if any of their personally identifiable information has been compromised on the exchanges.

The committee’s investigation into the health law’s failed rollout has raised serious concerns regarding the security of the exchanges. Because the exchanges were not fully built prior to October 1 (and are still incomplete today), open enrollment launched before HHS conducted a full Security Control Assessment. This lack of complete end-to-end security testing led to a memo written to CMS Administrator Tavenner explaining, “From a security perspective, the aspects of the system that were not tested due to the ongoing development, exposed a level of uncertainty that can be deemed as a high risk…”

“Now it’s HHS’s own watchdog sounding the latest alarm bell questioning the ability of the federal government to manage such a large and sensitive part of our nation’s economy. This new report echoes the concerns we have long voiced about the possibility of fraud and security concerns surrounding the government’s involvement in and changes to the health care industry,” said the Vice Chairman of the Subcommittees on Oversight and Investigations and Health Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX). “Nothing is more personal or sensitive than Americans’ health care. The administration’s lack of leadership and management in implementing its own health law forecasts an even more troubling future.”

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