A top Obama administration official came under fire Tuesday after her congressional testimony conflicted with the account of a man at the center of the HealthCare.gov security breach.
Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, promised a Senate committee that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had reached out to Tom Dougall, the South Carolina man whose private information was exposed on Healthcare.gov.
That’s not true, said Dougall, who spoke to Heritage following Tavenner’s testimony.
Dougall has called HHS repeatedly since Friday. That’s when he learned his name, address and insurance eligibility had been released to a total stranger in North Carolina. Dougall used the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov in early October, but opted against signing up for insurance.
At a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee this morning, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) told Tavenner about Dougall’s experience and asked her why no one from HHS has contacted Dougall:
Mr. Dougall has called [HHS] on several occasions but no one will call him back. Not a single person has taken the time, after having his information exposed, to even call Mr. Dougall back.
But Tavenner protested, promising HHS had already called him:
First of all, Senator Scott, we have reached out to Mr. Dougall several times, and we will find him, and we will follow up on his question.
When Scott offered to give Tavenner all of Dougall’s contact information, she said she didn’t need it and confirmed again that HHS had already reached out. Tavenner even told Scott “we have disagreement there” on whether Dougall had been reached.
After Tavenner’s testimony, Dougall emailed Heritage:
I have not had any contact with DHHS despite my efforts to contact them. They have had my contact information since yesterday at the latest. I’m sorry but her statement is not true.
The man who downloaded Dougall’s private information, Justin Hadley of North Carolina, told us he has been contacted by HHS, which directed him to a HealthCare.gov phone hotline for help. However, he remains unsatisfied with the government’s response.