Olens, Fellow AGs Call on HHS to Fix Serious Affordable Care Act Flaws
Attorney General Sam Olens and nine state attorneys general have sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calling on the Obama Administration to support immediate legislative action to mitigate systemic implementation problems within the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“In light of the regulatory, technological, and security concerns expressed by opponents and advocates alike, it is clear that, at best, the law is not operating as intended,” the attorneys general wrote. “If these concerns are not addressed, consumers may pay a tax for failing to buy insurance primarily through a website that will not permit them to do so.”
Some deficiencies of the law were evident before the roll-out began on October 1, 2013, but other major flaws have emerged. The website on which citizens are supposed to enroll has proved nearly unusable. Insurers also are reporting problems, such as duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children and missing data fields.
“It is becoming more evident each and every day that this law is fundamentally unworkable,” said Olens. “The Affordable Care Act has turned out to be unaffordable for the American people, who are seeing their premiums rise and their insurance options decrease. This reality of this law is not what the Obama Administration promised to the American people.”
ACA-related security concerns are also deeply troubling. The federal data hub, a key component of the exchange system, connects seven different government agencies and will have access to consumers’ personal information, including social security numbers, employment information, birth dates and tax returns. The attorneys general worry that privacy safeguards are inadequate for such a massive consolidation of personal information, putting consumers’ privacy at risk. The letter highlights a number of cybersecurity red flags experts have identified, including the website’s inability to block third-party access to cookies containing personal information.
The letter was also signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. The letter is attached.