The government rolls out the Affordable Health Care Act.. The only problem is that the website doesn’t work. Let’s face it, they weren’t ready. It still doesn’t work after weeks of attention – remember they have a bottomless budget. They should be able to fix it right? Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and some grace. My question is, if the website doesn’t work, what else doesn’t work that we don’t know yet? Do I really want to type all of my private information in a government program that may not work and may not be secure?
Obamacare: a massive privacy breach waiting to happen
Director of Health Policy, Illinois Policy Institute
We already know that, thanks to the law, health care premiums are rising. Jobs are being lost. And the quality of health care itself will decline. But it’s only a matter of time before the law causes another crisis: a national breach of individual privacy.
Fears of data breaches are real; the health and financial information of millions of Americans are housed in a massive federal government database called the “Data Hub.” That database will provide information to each state’s health care exchange, where individuals and small businesses are expected to purchase insurance plans online.
But even though the state-based exchanges are operating at various levels of functionality, there’s already been a disturbing security breach.
In September an employee of MNsure, the Minnesota Obamacare health insurance exchange, sent the email addresses, Social Security numbers, and other identifying information of hundreds insurance brokers to another agent.
It appears that the MNsure data breach was accidental and that there was no malicious intent. But however innocent, the public needs to understand that risk of privacy failures is just more one reason to repeal Obamacare.
In this digital age, there will always be the risk of data breaches. But the idea that the government isn’t taking, at a minimum, the same steps that a Fortune 500 company would take to secure sensitive personal information should cause alarm no matter one’s political ideology.
Unfortunately, that’s what a government audit of the Hub recently found. Security controls necessary to protect people’s confidentiality have not been met.
Not only has the U.S. Inspector General failed to independently verify the testing, the recent security breach in Minnesota confirms a more disturbing problem.
Michael Astrue, a former general counsel of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and former Social Security Commissioner, has called on the administration to delay ObamaCare implementation due to privacy concerns.
Testifying before a Congressional subcommittee, Astrue pointed out that there are many deficient areas that the Inspector General has overlooked: “He ignored the privacy issues, the security issues, and the issues associated with poorly screened and trained contractors. He did not assess usability, performance measures, governance or contingency plans. With HHS’s expanded role in health care, Americans need an Inspector General who is a watchdog, not a lapdog.”