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InsiderOnline Blog: August 2013

ObamaCare May Give Criminals Your Data

If you don’t sign up for ObamaCare and don’t have employer-provided insurance, you might have to pay a fine of $95. If you do sign up, you might be the victim of identity theft. According to the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is far behind schedule in its work to create the necessary data hub that would prevent unauthorized sharing and theft of Americans’ private records. Those protections are required by federal law; unless that system is in place, ObamaCare can’t legally open the exchanges on October 1. If the launch went ahead without those protections, anyone who signed up would have immediate standing to sue the government. Avik Roy has some details:

[A]ccording to Gloria Jarmon, Deputy Inspector General for Audit Services at HHS, “several critical tasks remain to be completed in a short period of time…If there are additional delays in completing the security authorization,” the chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) may not have the required “security controls needed for the security authorization decision” to open the exchanges on October 1.

According to Jarmon, CMS has delayed key deadlines by approximately two months, as described in the table below. But despite the fact every other deadline has been pushed back by as many as 73 days, CMS only delayed its final Security Authorization Decision by 26 days.

To out that another way: In March, CMS estimated that it would take 51 days—from July 15 to September 4—to review the final Security Control Assessment report, and make the final Security Authorization Decision, which you can think of as the “green light” that allows the exchanges to go forward, knowing that adequate security controls are in place. Now, CMS is planning to do that 51-day review in just 10 days.

What makes them think that they can accomplish a 51-day review in just 10 days? They don’t. The Obama administration is so determined to get Obamacare up and running on time that they are likely to ignore the legal requirements to adequately review these privacy safeguards.

Even more damning:

[Former Commissioner of the Social Security Administration] Michael Astrue says that it’s apparent from the OIG report that HHS “obstructed” the OIG audit, and notes that “what’s worse…the inspector general only conducted interviews and reviewed paperwork. No auditor actually tried to use the beta version of the system that tens of millions of Americans must use in less than two months.” [Forbes, August 7]

Posted on 08/09/13 11:10 PM by Alex Adrianson

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