- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Other witnesses said the inspector general needs to be more diligent in preventing the release of personal data.

But Rep. Yvette D. Clarke of New York, the ranking Democrat on the panel, said ominous claims about the hub are overblown.

“The data services hub is not a database,” she said. “It will not function as a database. It will not contain health care records.”

In a sign of more political pressure, the House is poised to vote this week on a bill that requires those seeking government subsidies to prove their income — a move the Republican majority says will crack down on fraud but which the White House denounced as an unnecessary delay tactic.

Rep. Diane Black, Tennessee Republican, filed the bill in response to midsummer reports that the Obama administration would rely on the honor system when it doled out sliding-scale subsidies to consumers on the exchanges.

But Senate Democrats are unlikely to take up that legislation, and Mr. Obama has pledged to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. His administration says it has an “effective and efficient” verification plan in place.

The Obamacare hiccups are touching members of Congress themselves.

Lawmakers and staffers in their personal offices will be kicked off their current government health care plans and will have to buy plans from the exchanges — though they can keep their government subsidies to pay for the premiums.

But the House’s chief administrative officer sent an email Wednesday saying that because all the details are still being worked out, congressional employees may not be able to sign up when the exchanges open Oct. 1.

“Members and staff are advised that although state and federal healthcare exchanges created under the ACA will open for enrollment on October 1st, it will not be possible to confirm plan options, costs, benefits, or which House staff will be affected until OPM issues final regulations, which could very well be after the exchanges have already opened,” the administrative office said.

Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.