DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - June 24, 2005)
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Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
I have been in the highway conference, and I am sorry I was not here earlier, but I understand the chairman may have represented that AARP is opposed. They had bad information yesterday, provided perhaps by majority staff. They are now neutral on this amendment. I have had a conversation with them today. They now understand the amendment goes to the issues of privacy. It does not undermine the outreach program. All it says is we will not give out personal private information. We will not waive the "Do Not Call" list for America's seniors and have them solicited by telemarketers at dinner after they have indicated they do not want any telemarketers calling them. That is all we are talking about here. We are saying one small section buried in this huge bill, that no Member here wants to take credit for, that says we are taking away the privacy of seniors to profit private insurance companies and make it easier for them.
Private insurance companies have vast resources. They can find these seniors in other ways. The outreach can be done without violating their privacy. That is what we are talking about here, plain and simple: the privacy of America's most vulnerable. Many seniors are aged. They are not well. They are at risk in this whole process, and they do not want those telemarketing phone calls.
So if we continue with this program, the administration is going to waive those rights, those protections for our seniors, plain and simple. This amendment only restricts the waivers of privacy and an incredible extension of waiving all privacy laws relating to people on Medicare or Medicaid and giving discretion to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to turn over that data as he sees fit, no matter what the will of the seniors is.
Let the seniors make the choice, not the Secretary of Health and Human Services, not the private insurance companies. They should not be telemarketed. This is plain and simple, something that I do not believe a majority of this House knew was in that bill when it was passed.
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