Senator Continues Push to Disbar Equifax from All Federal Contracts
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Following calls from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the IRS has suspended its contract with Equifax to verify taxpayer information for individuals who create accounts on the IRS website. On Monday, Brown called on the federal government to initiate a review to bar Equifax from consideration for new or renewed government contracts, citing Equifax’s failure to protect the personal information of 145 million Americans and more than 5 million Ohioans.
“Equifax simply cannot be trusted with taxpayer dollars or sensitive information,” said Brown. “Suspending the IRS contract is only the first step. We cannot know taxpayers are protected until Equifax is banned from all federal contracts.”
Shortly after news of Equifax’s data breach became public, it came to light that the Social Security Administration (SSA) contracted with Equifax for the online portal, known as mySocialSecurity. Equifax’s own system was hacked in July, exposing 145 million Americans to identify theft. Brown and his colleague U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) – leaders of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Social Security – called on the agency to provide answers as to whether it could confirm that its users’ information was secure.
At Brown’s urging, Equifax removed forced arbitration clauses from its free credit monitoring and identity protection services offered to consumers harmed by the breach. Last month, Brown joined Senators in calling on the DOJ, SEC and FTC to investigate accusations of insider trading by Equifax executives.
During a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee last week, Brown called for Equifax to invest more in security and less in huge salaries for CEOs. He pointed out that Equifax spent nearly as much on Smith’s multi-million dollar salary as the company spent on cybersecurity. Since last year, Smith earned about $69 million, while Equifax spends just $85 million a year on cybersecurity.
CSR Payments Help Ohioans Afford Health Insurance, Create Certainty in Insurance Market
Brown’s Bill Would Clarify the Law, Make CSR Payments Permanent
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called on Congress to pass his legislation that would clarify current law and make permanent critical payments to Ohio insurers, known as cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. Last night, President Trump announced the Administration will back out of the government’s commitment to CSR payments, which make healthcare more affordable for Ohioans. Uncertainty over whether or not the Administration will continue these payments has forced some insurers – like Anthem – to pull out of Ohio markets.
“Pulling the rug out from under efforts to make Ohioans’ health insurance more affordable is not the way to make healthcare work better,” said Brown. “President Trump’s actions threaten to raise healthcare costs and jeopardize insurance coverage for Ohioans. Now more than ever, Congress should come together and prevent prices from spiking for Ohio families.”
Brown has cosponsored legislation, The Marketplace Certainty Act, which would help stabilize health insurance markets by clarifying the law that CSR payments should be permanent and expanding CSR payments to cover more Ohioans.
Brown has also offered legislation to make improvements to the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option to the individual marketplaces so all consumers can access an affordable plan no matter where they live, while adding competition and lowering costs. He also introduced a package of proposals to bring down the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs, one of the major cost drivers in the healthcare system, including a bill to crack down on pharmaceutical companies who spike prices overnight. Brown’s proposals have been called, “just about every policy idea drug lobbyists hate.”
In September, Brown and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) asked Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price to work with them to fix the healthcare system so it keeps people healthy, rather than just treating them when they are sick.