Sunday, February 18, 2018
Politics

Gov. Scott targets privacy of Obamacare

A data breach in Minnesota has added fuel to Gov. Rick Scott's latest crusade against the Affordable Care Act: privacy concerns. Now, he's asking U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner to address the questions raised about whether patient information will be protected when they are assisted by enrollment advisers or use Web-based programs to sign up for coverage.

An employee working for Minnesota's health exchange incorrectly emailed Social Security numbers and other identifying information for about 2,400 insurance agents to a man applying to becoming a "navigator."

In expressing concern about "navigators" last month, Scott said he worried they would become privy to private information as they helped Floridians sign up for coverage. The director of a nonprofit organization responsible for hiring these enrollment advisers tried to allay those fears last week, saying "navigators" won't need to collect patients' personal information in order to do their job.

Now, Scott is using the Minnesota incident to pivot on his argument. He's still worried the "navigators" will be privy to patient personal information, but now he's expressing the same concerns about the health exchanges themselves.

"I respectfully request you take immediate action by whatever means available to thoroughly review what privacy rules and safeguards are in place to protect Americans' personal information, both when they consult with 'navigators' and when their information is entered into the federal data hub," Scott wrote in his letter to Reid and Boehner.

Of course, similar advisers have been helping Floridians sign up for Medicare, Medicaid and a separate program for children for years. These programs also have Web-based enrollment, operating similar to how the exchanges are expected to when they start signing up patients on Oct. 1. So far, however, Scott hasn't verbalized any privacy issues about those more popular and established health care programs.

Filling the coffers

Gov. Scott will raise money for his re-election campaign in Washington in November, according to an invitation.

Scott will appear at a Nov. 14 fundraiser featuring former Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi. Host committee with photo: $5,000 per person. Breakfast reception: $2,500 per person.

The event is being organized by Kirsten Borman, a Washington-based fundraising consultant who is well connected in Florida. She is also a fundraiser for Reps. Dan Webster and Ted Yoho.

Wealthy legislators

Roll Call is out with its annual top 50 richest members of Congress list and two Floridians make the list. No. 12. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, net worth $31.65 million. No 21. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, net worth: $16.69 million.

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