Friday, January 10, 2014

Hartzler: I will fight to keep your information secure on Obamacare

If it's not one thing, it is another. In her latest newsletter, Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler addresses possible security breaches during the implemention of the Affordable Care Act.

It’s been a little more than a week since the President’s health care law forced many Americans into new health plans that require citizens to pay for benefits they don’t want, don’t need, and in some cases simply cannot afford.
 We are still learning of many of the security concerns and the risks faced by citizens who have provided the government Health Care Exchanges with personal information that might not be protected. The House passed legislation this week in an effort to address this issue of great concern and to put Americans’ minds at ease.
 The Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, H.R. 3811, requires the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department to notify individuals if their personal information has been stolen or unlawfully accessed through an ObamaCare exchange. This notification must occur no later than two business days after discovery by the HHS Secretary. Congressional oversight has uncovered facts that raise serious concerns regarding the security of the law’s exchanges – due in part to the failure of HHS to perform a full Security Control Assessment before the website went live on October 1st.
 The Administration has promised to notify individuals of personal security breaches. This legislation would require it by law!
 The Administration has consistently misrepresented the functionality and readiness of the health law. It is only appropriate to ensure, by law, that citizens who have been forced to use the ObamaCare exchanges are at the very least notified if security has been breached.
 The health care program is very costly. Our legislation will go a long way toward ensuring innocent citizens are notified of security breaches due to the law, and American taxpayers know what they’re getting for their money. It is hard to imagine how anyone could be opposed to such common sense legislation. I urge the Senate to follow the lead of the House in requiring transparency and openness for American taxpayers.
 On another matter, I recently sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the need for more Alzheimer’s research. Currently, more than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Every single day more than 10,000 baby boomers turn 65. As this great generation ages, one in eight will develop Alzheimer’s. This disease is now the costliest disease in America, outpacing cancer and heart disease. Thousands of families across Missouri and the nation are affected by this terrible disease, and this is one of the reasons I am committed to this fight. Another reason is the cost to the U.S. taxpayer. The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s is expected to cost $20 trillion over the next 40 years, with three-quarters of that money coming from Medicare and Medicaid.
 The Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research Care and Services has called for an increase of funding for Alzheimer’s research to at least $2 billion annually in order to find real solutions and preventions for this horrible disease. However, the NIH allocated only $503 million for Alzheimer’s research last year. My letter requests that NIH allocate additional funding for Alzheimer’s research. I also requested an explanation as to why additional resources are not being put towards this crisis.
 We must do all we can to find a cure for today’s families and tomorrow’s seniors. I remain committed to the fight, and I welcome your ideas and thoughts on this issue.

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