News / USA

Obama Administration Seeks to Bolster US Health Law Privacy

Opponents of President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care Act rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sept. 10, 2013.
Opponents of President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care Act rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sept. 10, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— The Obama administration will announce measures to reassure Americans about the privacy and security of the information they submit when they sign up for insurance under President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, officials said on Wednesday.
 
The administration plans to promote a toll-free telephone number to report fraud or attempted identity theft under the law, and expects to launch measures such as an online identification-verification system to keep taxpayer-funded subsidies from going to criminals, officials said.
 
Online health insurance exchanges, a key means to enroll an estimated 7 million uninsured Americans for next year, are to open across the country on October 1, and the administration is scrambling to surmount political and operational obstacles to get them running on time. People have until March to sign up for coverage next year.
 
Technology experts have cited the risk of fraud and abuse as factors that could complicate or delay the implementation of the exchanges, and opponents of the law have seized on those worries.
 
Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez and other federal and state officials were to discuss the privacy and security issues at a White House meeting on Wednesday, officials said.
 
That will be followed by events this week at the Justice Department and at the Federal Trade Commission aimed at reassuring Americans that their personal information will be safe and to publicize ways to report criminal activity, they said.
 
Republicans are waging a dogged fight against the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. They have made delaying or defunding Obamacare a top priority and want to make that a condition for passing federal government spending bills or an increase in the nation's debt limit.
 
Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, in August expressed concern about the potential for privacy violations, and Florida recently placed restrictions on counselors trained to help people sign up for healthcare, citing concerns about the theft of personal information.
 
Implementation of Obamacare so far has been faced a series of delays. Most recently, the administration held back the signing of final agreements with insurance plans to be sold on the exchanges, probably because of technology problems.
 
Administration officials have said repeatedly that the marketplaces would begin on time. But the October 1 deadline has begun to falter in some places at the state level, with Oregon announcing plans to scale back the launch of its own marketplace. Meanwhile, California has said it will be ready for full enrollment in time.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid