Cummings Issues Statement Against Latest GOP Effort to Scare People Away from Healthcare.gov
Washington, D.C. (Jan. 10, 2014)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, spoke on the House Floor in opposition to H.R. 3811, The Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act. Below are Cummings' remarks, as prepared for delivery, and the video of his speech:
“I would like to make two simple points. First, the Affordable Care Act is working. It went into full effect on January 1, and now millions of people – MILLIONS – are getting health insurance they did not have before. Imagine what this means to these families. Not only are they receiving critical medical care, but they have the security of knowing they will not go bankrupt if they get into an accident or get sick.
“The law also put in place key protections for consumers. Insurance companies are now prohibited from discriminating against people with cancer, diabetes, or other preexisting conditions. They may not charge higher prices for women. And millions of people are now receiving free preventative care. There are also huge financial benefits. Health insurance companies are sending rebate checks to millions of people. Since the law was passed, we have seen the lowest growth in healthcare costs in 50 years. And if we repealed the law today, it would increase our deficit by more than $1.5 trillion dollars.
“Despite all these positive results, Republicans are still obsessed with killing this law. Since they cannot do so legislatively, they have shifted to a different tactic: scaring people away from the website.
“So my second point is this: there have been no successful security breaches of Healthcare.gov. Nobody’s personal information has been maliciously hacked.
“All week, Republicans have been trying to make their case for this bill by quoting from a memo drafted by the Chief Information Security Officer at CMS about concerns before the website was launched. But they omit one critical fact: This official never sent that memo. It was a draft, and she never gave it to anyone, including her own supervisor.
“How do we know this? Because she was interviewed by the Oversight Committee weeks ago, and she told us herself. Her draft memo did not take into account mitigation strategies put in place in the days that followed. Importantly, she also told the Committee she is satisfied with the security testing being conducted. When asked to describe the security measures now in place, she called them, and I quote, “best practices above and beyond what is usually recommended.”
“These are important facts for the American people to know. But the Republicans disregard them and omit them because they undermine their claims. Many of us would support efforts to strengthen requirements for the entire federal government and private sector to notify consumers of breaches. But today’s bill does not do that. Today’s bill is the latest attempt to attack the Affordable Care Act and deprive millions of Americans of the healthcare they deserve.”