Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., called a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee “a monkey court” on Thursday as Republicans lawmakers alleged that the Healthcare.gov website fails to protect the privacy of patients.
“How in the world can this be HIPAA compliant when HIPAA is designed to protect the patient’s privacy and this explicitly says in order to continue you have to accept this condition that you have no privacy — no reasonable expectation of privacy?” Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, asked Cheryl Campbell, the senior vice president of the firm CGI, which created the website.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires a national standard for electronic health care transactions and “gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information.”
Pallone blasted his colleagues, Reps. Barton and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., for not knowing that Obamacare isn’t covered by HIPAA.
“I started out in my opening statement saying their was no legitimacy to this hearing and the last line of questioning certainly confirms that,” said Pallone. “HIPAA only applies when there’s health information being provided. That’s not at play here today. No health information is required in the application process and why is that? Because pre-existing conditions don’t matter.”
“So once again, here we have my Republican colleagues trying to scare everybody," he added.
Republicans interrupted, asking Pallone to yield.
“No I will not yield to this monkey court, or whatever this thing is," he said. "Do whatever you want. I’m not yielding.”
"You’re not asked health information,” he repeated, “So, why are we going down this path? Because you are trying to scare people so they don't apply, and so therefore the legislation gets delayed, the Affordable Care Act gets defunded or its repealed."
“That’s all it is,” he continued. “Hoping people won’t apply. Well the fact of the matter is, there are millions of people out there, over 20 million that are going on this site.”