|WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan) renewed his warning that the Obamacare exchanges are leaving applicants vulnerable by failing to safeguard private patient health and financial information. This ongoing concern was reiterated today while questioning Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on the failed rollout of the President Obama's signature legislation.
Roberts pressed Tavenner on a memo she signed on September 27, 2013, just days before the October 1st launch of Healthcare.gov. The memo in question granted her approval to move forward with the exchanges despite multiple warnings that the inability to complete a full end-to-end test of marketplace systems posed “inherent security risks.”
After the hearing Roberts said, “Administrator Tavenner has been managing the day-to-day operations of the exchange website launch. We now have her signature on a document acknowledging there were critical security risks with the healthcare.gov website. It is her signature authorizing the contractors to make the site operational despite stated security concerns from both inside and outside the administration.
“We keep getting assurances from the administration that the data within the failed healthcare.gov website is secure and that patient privacy is protected, but where is the proof? They won’t share the data with us. What are the administration’s plans for protecting privacy? Why can’t they be transparent? Who is accountable for this mess?” Roberts asked.
“The answers aren’t adding up. Secretary Sebelius says she is accountable, yet Administrator Tavenner says she made the final call on moving forward with the exchange. There is a remarkable lack of clarity when it comes to the security of this site. That lack of transparency is causing incredible uncertainty and downright fear for the folks forced into these exchanges. There is a clear lack of leadership throughout the execution of this program, and I believe that falls squarely at the top on Secretary Sebelius and the President.”
Roberts is an outspoken opponent of Obamacare. He has called on Secretary Sebelius to resign over the problems with implementation of the law. He is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the Senate Committee on Finance. He is the co-chair of the Senate Rural Health Caucus.