January 12, 2014
The Obama administration, which describes itself as the most transparent in history, announced its opposition to two House bills calling for transparency in the administration of the Affordable Care Act.
The first, approved Friday by a wide margin, would require administration officials to inform people when their personal information has been compromised. The second, slated for a vote next week, would require the administration to provide Congress with weekly updates of Obamacare’s implementation, according to The Hill .
The House approved the first, H.R. 3811, the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, by a 291-122 vote, including 67 Democrats. In its writtenpolicy statement , dated Thursday, the White House claimed that the legislation would impose “costly paperwork requirements.”
“For example, the indiscriminate reporting requirement in H.R. 3811 may seriously impede the law enforcement investigation of a breach,” the White House said in its statement. “Unlike existing requirements, H.R. 3811 requires expensive and unnecessary notification for the compromise of publicly-available information, even if there is no reasonable risk that information could be used to cause harm.”
Banks inform their customers as a matter of course whenever they believe there’s even the possibility that an account has been compromised, and they don’t complain that it’s “unnecessary notification.” It’s all the cost of doing business in an electronic information age.
The administration published a similar policy statement  for the bill scheduled for next week.
The White House complained that the reporting requirements of H.R. 3362, the Exchange Information Disclosure Act, would place an undue burden on the administration.
“It would require the reporting of data on a weekly basis that is generally being provided on a monthly basis. Few major indicators — from job growth to Medicare Advantage enrollment to private shareholder reports — are provided more frequently than monthly; this bill would hold the Marketplaces and State Medicaid programs to unprecedented standards,” the White House said in its policy statement.
“To implement this new reporting system, contracts may need to be modified and new staff would need to be hired on an expedited basis, adding millions of dollars in costs to States and the Federal Government,” the White House added.
If it’s not already present, a counter can be easily added to the software. It would keep a running tally of the number of visits to the site, number of individuals who created an account, number of those who selected a plan and the number who have actually paid for their plan.
It certainly wouldn’t require a new reporting system, additional staff or millions of dollars in implementation costs. It would only require a desire to make good on its promise — to be the most transparent presidential administration in history.