Today U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (3rd Dist.-Texas) announced that he re-introduced legislation to protect seniors from identity theft by demanding that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) remove Social Security numbers (SSNs) from Medicare cards.
Criminals use Social Security numbers to steal identities, enabling them to wreak havoc on the financial lives of innocent Americans. According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2011 ID theft claimed over 11 million victims.
Johnson, Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee on Ways and Means, authored H.R. 781, the Medicare Identity Theft Prevention Act, with fellow Texan U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (35th Dist.-Texas).
"It's absurd that Social Security tells Americans not to carry around their Social Security card and yet seniors are told they must carry their Medicare cards which displays their Social Security numbers," stated Johnson. The legislation mandates the removal of Social Security numbers from Medicare cards.
Recently, in an effort to protect the troops, veterans and their families, the Department of Defense stopped issuing ID cards with SSNs and started using personal identifying numbers for the purposes of "name, rank and serial number," i.e. Geneva Convention ID number. To make it easier, DoD phased out the SSN as cards expired and needed to be replaced.
"If the Department of Defense can do it to protect the troops, then we can do it to protect our seniors," continued Johnson. "The time is now -- while we are still on the cusp of the Baby Boomers retiring.
"Our seniors want, need and deserve this common-sense consumer protection." Johnson represents portions of Collin County.