Legislation introduced last Friday by Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) calls for a one-year delay in the launch of the controversial data hub that will connect state health insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act with federal agencies. Meehan, in a statement about the legislation (H.R. 2837), said the abuse and theft potential for information stored in the hub is "unprecedented."
"Fewer than 70 days before the hub is expected to be operational, critical questions remain unanswered," Meehan (pictured) said. "These agencies are not ready and cannot assure us Americans' sensitive information will be secure."
Meehan co-chaired a congressional hearing last Wednesday that looked into the progress of the hub. At that hearing, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said that the hub had been completed. Henry Chao, a lead technology information officer from CMS, added that roughly 80 percent of the safeguards for protecting patient privacy had been finished, as well.
In a letter sent to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius late last month, 16 Republican lawmakers raised concerns about the hub, saying that "it remains unclear whether it will be operable and able to protect sensitive health and taxpayer information." One of the lawmakers who signed the letter--Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee--brought up similar concerns in an opinion piece published in U.S. News & World Report.