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After security breach, FL governor takes privacy concerns to Congress

By   /   September 17, 2013  /   1 Comment

By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

TALLAHASSEE — Florida Gov. Rick Scott is taking his Obamacare “navigator” concerns to Congress, a response to a recent security breach.

In a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate President Harry Reid on Monday, Scott asked for an immediate review of navigator privacy rules and safeguards.

GOV. RICK SCOTT: Taking health care privacy concerns to Congress.

Read the full letter here: Floridians should not exchange privacy for insurance.

As reported by Watchdog.org, on Sept. 12, Minnesota’s online health exchange sent Social Security information and other private data of 2,400 insurance brokers to one individual applying to be a navigator.

“The more I thought about it, the more troubled I was,” said Jim Koester, the recipient. “What if this had fallen into the wrong hands? It’s scary.”

Navigators are taxpayer-funded workers deployed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help people sign up for state health insurance exchanges.

In a rush to enroll millions of Americans, including many of Florida’s 3.5 million uninsured, the program lacks sufficient oversight and requires minimal training, say critics.

According to Scott’s letter:

Florida has been identified as “ground zero” for the administration’s efforts to get people into the federal insurance exchange. This characterization has been underscored by multiple visits to our state by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius asking people to use the federal exchange.

As the push for “navigators” to sign up Floridians on the federal health insurance exchange becomes more frenzied, the need to safeguard the personal information Floridians submit to the “navigators,” and its use in a “federal data hub,” is taking on paramount importance.

Florida’s top elected officials met in Miami in August to discuss privacy concerns relating to Floridians’ sensitive health and financial information. Florida’s consumer protection laws, enacted earlier this year, are usurped by HHS rule making.

Scott’s critics have blasted the Republican for his opposition to the health-care law – though he embraced the Medicaid expansion – including denying navigators from enrolling Floridians at state health facilities.

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William Patrick is Watchdog.org’s Florida reporter. His work has been featured by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and Townhall.com, as well as other national news and opinion websites. He’s also been cited and reposted by numerous state news organizations, including Florida Trend, Sunshine State News and the Miami Herald, and is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Florida Press Association. William’s work has impacted discussions on education, privacy, criminal justice reform, and government and corporate accountability. Prior to joining Watchdog, William worked for the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, Fla. There, he launched a legislative news website covering state economic issues. After leaving New York City in 2010, William worked for the Florida Attorney General’s Office where he assisted state attorneys general in prosecuting Medicaid Fraud. William graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College, City University of New York. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife and three young children.

  • Coupon Master

    what a load of crap… where were his privacy concerns when he was ripping off medicare using peoples information???