November 4 2013
Rx for Fraud
Patrice J. Lee
It’s hard not to say "I told you so," especially as new reports confirm our worst fears that ObamaCare would put the privacy and security of regular Americans at risk.
As we’ve reported, the President’s signature healthcare law creates a system that is insecure, untested, and unsafe. Personal information including social security numbers and tax information can be accessed by scammers, hackers, and vengeful ex-lovers. It can also be accidentally handed over to unsuspecting consumers innocently shopping for healthcare options for themselves.
This weekend, a North Carolina dad stumbled across a security flaw in the healthcare.gov website that disclosed eligibility letters addressed to individuals from another state. Despite attempts to inform Health and Human Services (HHS) about this error, he has yet to hear back from the agency. Why am I not surprised?
HHS shouldn’t be too surprised; other government agencies have raised concern about security risks with healthcare.gov to no avail. The Associated Press got its hands on an internal memo from officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services raising alarm that lack of testing posed a potentially “high” security risk for the HealthCare.gov website. CNN reports:
"Due to system readiness issues, the SCA (security control assessment) was only partly completed," said the internal memo from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "This constitutes a risk that must be accepted and mitigated to support the Marketplace Day 1 operations."
The memo, which was provided in response to a request from the House Oversight Committee, goes on to explain that CMS would create a "dedicated security team" to monitor the risk, conduct weekly scans and within 60 to 90 days after the website went live, "conduct a full-scale SCA test."
What’s interesting is that the memo was signed by the agency's director, Marilyn Tavenner, who testified last week on Capitol Hill that she thought the website was ready to go for the October 1 rollout. It appears Tavenner had to put aside the concerns of her staff to line up behind Kathleen Sebelius like a good soldier.
We reported on last week’s hearing before Congress about the ObamaCare website. What’s becoming clearer is that everyone – from other agencies to the tech contractors creating the website – knew it was ill-advised to ram through the rollout of healthcare.gov. The site was untested and unfinished. That didn’t matter because the Administration was determined to go online at any cost by October 1.
Beyond the hundreds of millions of dollars the website cost taxpayers there is a bigger security price that Americans will continue to pay as more inadequacies in the system become apparent.
The Administration is hemorrhaging credibility over ObamaCare. Despite what the President and other supporters say, the mismanagement of this healthcare website demonstrates the failure of his healthcare reform plan overall. It also underscores the fallacy of the notion that government can overhaul private enterprise and not break the system.
ObamaCare is not going to make healthcare cheaper for individuals, cover more Americans, or really reform the system. If nothing else, it demonstrates that, while imperfect the private sector is more effective and efficient at providing services and goods -including healthcare. It’s a lesson that younger generations are learning first-hand.