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What Wyden wants from cyberattack hearing

Senator Ron Wyden talks to reporters

Wyden talks to reporters in February 2023. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden told Axios he plans to use next week's hearing to press the UnitedHealth Group CEO for more information about its efforts to fight February's cyberattack against it.

Why it matters: Tuesday's hearing with UnitedHealth's Andrew Witty will be a chance for lawmakers to get more answers and grill the executive over a cyberattack that has led to mounting concern about compromised patient data privacy and trouble paying providers.

What they're saying: "There's virtually no specifics out there," Wyden told Axios on Friday. "I'm going to ask them what they're doing to get back and going again, what's being done to protect people's personal data.… People's personal health care data is enormously important to them."

  • Wyden said the episode also raises red flags about health care industry consolidation.

The big picture: Change Healthcare, the payment processor that was hit with the cyberattack, is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, which Wyden said highlights concerns about the size of big health care companies.

  • "These health care giants are getting even more giant," he said. "It represents a systemic threat."
  • The company said Monday that health care information from a "substantial proportion of people in America" could be caught up in the breach.
  • "We know this attack has caused concern and been disruptive for consumers and providers and we are committed to doing everything possible to help and provide support to anyone who may need it," Witty said in a statement on Monday.

What's next: Wyden also told reporters this week that he's interested in "beefing up cybersecurity standards," though he did not get into details.

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