Red Alert: Fact-Free Think Tank Legislation Ahead
Despite the fact that there have been no security breaches on the Affordable Care Act's website, that hasn't stopped Republicans from trying to scare the public away from enrolling by claiming there have been, or that there will be in the future. It's just another scheme they've come up with since they haven't been able to kill Obamacare outright as they planned.
Now a member of Congress from Florida is introducing a bill "to address Obamacare's security risks" that he claims "could" happen, citing FOX news and ALEC, Koch associated think tanks that are pushing that idea to right-wing websites and blogs.
Citing a "report" from FOX news, Florida GOP Rep. Gus Bilirakis is introducing the One Hour Notification Act that would require notifications in the event of those imaginary security breaches of the future on the ACA website. This "report" is really just an article authored by a "reporter" with the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity and also featured on a Franklin affiliated website, and is making its way to various right-wing blogs as these typical fear mongering round robins frequently do. The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity is a Koch funded "watchdog" that, according to the Center For Media And Democracy "has rushed to fill the gap" "due in part to slipping ad revenue and corporate media conglomeration."
Bilirakis has penned his own fear mongering, so-called "op-ed" for the website Red Alert Politics, which caters to young conservatives who just might need health insurance, in which he makes loosely based claims of potential security breaches and identity theft, the same ones others in his party have used to scare people.
He isn't nearly as fluent with these claims when writing about the bill's introduction on his official House website. That's probably because he knows there have been no such security breaches. He would know, as he's a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which was informed in December of last year that “No person or group has hacked into healthcare.gov, and no person or group has maliciously accessed any personally identifiable information from users.”
Yes, the potential for security breaches is serious and something to guard against, but these people aren't really interested in security breaches. They're merely using the idea of them as a scare tactic to discourage people from enrolling in Obamacare. The ACA website has been tested and there have been no breaches.
Bilirakis, as I said, is a member of the Committee that by his own definition "has consistently focused on sensible consumer protections for the 21st century." If security breaches are such a serious concern of his, then why haven't he and his Republican colleagues led the charge to protect consumers where actual security breaches have occurred, like the recent one during the height of the holiday shopping season at Target stores? That was just one of many recent security breaches involving credit cards. Have Rep. Bilirakis or any of his fellow Republicans called for investigations or bills to deal with all those very real breaches? Have they gone after those corporations or any of the big banks affiliated with them? Are they demanding that the banks and stores step up your credit card security?
Of course not. But they are using the recent breach at Target in another way: Citing the Target breach only as yet another reason to scare potential consumers away from Obamacare.
[Eric] Cantor cited the recent data breach at Target in which hackers gained access to the financial information of millions of customers, and he pointed to a study by the credit report bureau Experian warning that the healthcare industry would be the most susceptible to data breaches in 2014.
If you were a victim of the Target breach, or any other of the numerous credit card security incidents in the past, don't look at Cantor or Bilirakis to protect you from any more of those. That would mean going after the big donors and banks who the GOP essentially works for.
Right now his biggest concern is preventing people from getting Obamacare with tactics made to look as if he's looking out for his constituents' best interests.