Hatch Bill Would Delay Exchanges Until Agencies Verify Privacy, Security Measures

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By Kendra Casey Plank  

Sept. 17 --Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) Sept. 17 introduced a bill that would delay the planned Oct. 1 launch of the federal and state-based insurance exchanges because of concerns about consumers' privacy and data security.

The bill would stall the exchanges--called marketplaces--until the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office verified that privacy and data security measures were in place.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Hatch said the administration's internal testing of the data hub--which is acting as a conduit for information between federal and state agencies and marketplaces--did not sufficiently assuage concerns that consumers' personal information was protected from fraud and abuse.

“It would simply be irresponsible to open the exchanges without adequate safeguards to protect and secure consumers' personal information,” Hatch said. “While the administration claims that these safeguards exist, there is simply no way to verify these claims absent an independent review.”

Republicans for months argued that the data hub was not designed and tested well enough to protect consumer data and several times have called for its delay.

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) introduced a bill (H.R. 2837) in July that would delay the data hub for one year (see previous article). And, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) similarly has called for a delay of the data hub based on privacy and data security worries (see previous article).

To contact the reporter on this story: Kendra Casey Plank in Washington at kcasey@bna.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Patty Logan at plogan@bna.com.

The bill is at http://op.bna.com/hl.nsf/r?Open=kcpk-9bmrer.