GOP lawmakers slam HHS over identity-theft risk in Medicare

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On Monday, they linked their cause to a new report finding flaws in the way HHS responds to the problem of Medicare identity theft.

"This report is a wakeup call for [the Medicare agency] to heed the advice of its own Inspector General and take immediate action to develop a new system for protecting seniors from medical identity theft," Johnson said in a statement.

"Seniors are urged not to carry their Social Security card to protect their number, but at the same time they need to carry their Medicare card at all times to get healthcare. This makes no sense," he said.

The report from the HHS inspector general found the department failed to take certain steps that would protect seniors from identity theft in Medicare.

The report also recommended new ways to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries whose identities have been stolen can still access healthcare.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has seen calls to overhaul the Medicare card for a decade, according to a memo from Ways and Means Republicans.

Herger said the inspector general report should convince CMS to move forward once and for all.

"Actions speak louder than words," he said in a statement.

"Though years of CMS indifference and delay make me skeptical, my hope is that this report finally persuades the agency to stop use of the SSN as the Medicare identification number," he said.

Herger leads the House Ways and Means Health subcommittee, while Johnson leads its Social Security subcommittee.