The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has not yet committed to a program to remove the Social Security number from Medicare cards, five years after the Office of Management and Budget ordered agencies to reduce unnecessary use and six years after CMS first explored options.

That’s the bottom line from the Government Accountability Office in a new report and testimony to Congress. GAO is a congressional watchdog agency. “Lack of action on this key initiative leaves Medicare beneficiaries exposed to the possibility of identity theft,” GAO officials testified to Congress.

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