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.
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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