Is the Obamacare Website Safe?

Today, the House passed a bill to require the Department of Health and Human Services(HHS)to notify individuals if their personal information has been stolen or unlawfully accessed through an Obamacare exchange website. Currently, HHS is not required to notify EVERY individual if their personal information has been stolen. If private companies like Target are required to disclose and remedy any security breach why shouldn’t the Federal government? While this common sense measure may seem like a no-brainer, President Obama has already threatened to veto the bill.

Congressional oversight has uncovered facts that raise serious concerns regarding the security of the law’s exchanges. We have learned that the HHS did not perform a full Security Control Assessment before the website went live on October 1st.

Experts at Experian recently wrote that the “healthcare industry, by far, will be the most susceptible to publicly disclosed and widely scrutinized data breaches in 2014.” This prediction was based in part on reports of security risks posed by the HealthCare.gov website and the health insurance exchanges established by various states since the health care law’s infrastructure was “put together too quickly and haphazardly.” These facts, on top of the fact that the administration has repeatedly misrepresented the functionality and readiness of the health law, raise serious questions regarding the security of personal information on HealthCare.gov.

Relief from Skyrocketing Flood Insurance Rates:

This week, Rep. Bill Johnson and I sent a letter to Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor about the importance of promptly addressing the flood insurance issue. The unintended consequences created by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012 are negatively impacting many people in West Virginia and across the country who are unexpectedly facing skyrocketing premiums.

The House needs to take action on a solution that will provide relief to families struggling with the rising costs of flood insurance. I am currently a cosponsor of two bills that would stop these dramatic rate increases.

We have heard from hundreds of home owners, realtors, and insurance agents who have shared nightmarish stories.  Some people are faced with premiums as much as ten times higher than in previous years. Many homeowners are finding it impossible to sell their property because no one is willing to shoulder the cost of purchasing a new flood insurance policy. These are just a few examples of how these reforms are already hurting families.

The long term impacts could be even more severe. Many middle class families in communities along the Ohio River could be priced out of home ownership altogether. These changes could hurt entire neighborhoods and communities by depressing home prices and increasing vacancy. Congress needs to take action to fix this.

Protecting Volunteer Firefighters from an Unfair Obamacare Mandate:

Recently, we learned that volunteer fire departments may be subject to the Obamacare employer mandate. The Internal Revenue Service currently defines volunteer firefighters as “employees” despite the fact they typically work full time jobs in addition to their volunteer work.  As a result, volunteer fire departments and municipalities will be forced to provide health insurance or face financial penalties.  This week I spoke on the House floor on this issue:

In West Virginia, 95 percent of all fire departments are staffed by volunteers. Rural areas rely on these volunteers to provide vital services. Many volunteer departments have stated they may be forced to reduce employers or shut down all together if something is not done. That’s why I cosponsored the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act(H.R. 3685)which would exempt volunteer firefighters and emergency medical providers from the employer mandate under Obamacare.

Next Week:

The House will be in session next week to continue debate on farm programs, funding bills, and push back on the EPA’s anti-coal agenda. Please reach out to my Washington, D.C. office at(202)225-4172 to voice your thoughts and concerns on any upcoming legislation. 

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Survey Results

What are your biggest concerns for the upcoming new year?

Fixing Obamacare18.27%
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Protecting Social Security and Medicare26.85%
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