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Veto-Proof House Majority Passes Health Exchange Security and Transparency Bill

Upton: “While Republicans and Democrats may disagree on the merits of the President’s health care law, I think we should all agree that Americans deserve to be notified if their personal information is put at risk by this law.”

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Washington, DC, Jan 10 | Lynn Turner / Nick Culp (269-385-0039 / 202-225-3761) | comments

Click here to watch Upton’s floor remarks

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, praised the House of Representatives today for passing H.R. 3811, the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. Introduced and advanced by Upton’s committee, this commonsense legislation would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to notify Americans, within two business days, in the event that their personally identifiable information is jeopardized on the health law’s exchanges.

The investigation led by Upton’s committee into the health law’s failed rollout has raised serious questions about the functionality and readiness of the health law. For months administration officials testified that implementation was “on track,” but documents uncovered reveal that was clearly not the case. Now, the administration’s insistence that everything is secure is rightfully met with skepticism.

Despite the administration’s vocal opposition to the effort to boost transparency and consumer protections, a veto-proof House majority voted 291 to 122 in favor of H.R. 3811. The legislation now awaits action in the Senate.

Upton spoke on the House floor today in strong support of the commonsense measure. The text of Upton’s comments as prepared for delivery follow.

I rise in strong support of H.R. 3811, the “Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act of 2014.”  Security and transparency. Both are critically important to all Americans, and the public expects and deserves to have both when it comes to health care. Sadly, the administration has failed to deliver. This important bill seeks to provide peace of mind to folks in Michigan and across the country who have submitted personal information to a health insurance exchange.

Americans have a right to know in the event their sensitive personal information provided to an exchange is compromised - especially as it is the law’s individual mandate that forces them to purchase government-approved health coverage.  Why wouldn’t we want the public to know? And be alerted right away?

This commonsense bill would require the administration to promptly inform individuals within two business days if their personal information has been stolen or unlawfully accessed through an exchange. 

Through the Energy and Commerce Committee’s thoughtful oversight, we have uncovered troubling information regarding the security of the health law’s exchanges.

We have found that the administration did not perform a full Security Control Assessment before HealthCare.gov opened for business on October 1. We have also learned that, just days before HealthCare.gov went live, senior officials at HHS expressed serious concerns regarding the protection of Personally Identifiable Information entered into the website. 

These facts, on top of the fact that the administration has repeatedly misrepresented the functionality and readiness of the health law, raise significant questions regarding the security of HealthCare.gov and information available in the exchanges. 

While Republicans and Democrats may disagree on the merits of the president’s health care law, I think we should all agree that Americans deserve to be notified if their personal information is put at risk by this law.

I thank Mr. Pitts for putting security and transparency above politics in authoring this thoughtful bill. I urge my colleagues to support the bill, and I yield back.

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