Congressman Black's Op-Ed in USA Today: ObamaCare Poses Security Threat
In Case You Missed It:
ObamaCare poses security threat
Delays will likely prevent HHS from verifying the health care system's security
By Congressmen Diane Black and Pat Meehan
August 21, 2013
With just six weeks until scheduled implementation of the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges, delays by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in verifying its system's security measures threaten to put the personal records of millions of Americans at risk. At the heart of this problem is the Federal Data Services Hub, a massive information sharing network set to launch on October 1st.
The data hub will contain volumes of Americans' personal information and will be shared among numerous federal agencies, including the IRS, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as state governments. It will be used and accessed by thousands of bureaucrats as they seek to enroll people in the ObamaCare exchanges.
The potential for abuse of personal information is staggering, and the recent scandals involving many of these same government agencies makes this massive collection of personal information even more unsettling. The data hub is a prime target for identity thieves and cyber attacks, and it requires the strongest possible security measures to prevent breaches.
But what is astonishing is that the Obama administration is moving forward with implementation of the data hub even though there has been no assurance that proper security measures will be in place. According to a recent report from the HHS Inspector General, security testing is a month behind schedule. A final test on the security of the data hub has been delayed until September 30th– just one day before the exchanges are set to go live.
The administration has had more than three years to develop security programs meant to protect Americans' personal information; simply winging it the day before is an unacceptable breach of the public's trust.
The problems that could result if the data hub is not properly secured are enormous. That is why we have both put forward legislation that would ensure the security of Americans' personal information, and why 13 states' attorneys general sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week expressing concerns over adequate safety measures to protect their constituents' personal data.
This summer the president has unilaterally delayed the employer mandate to protect big businesses, delayed income verification provisions to prevent fraudulent subsidy payments, and delayed caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs.
The House passed legislation to codify the President's employer mandate delay and to extend that delay to individuals. Now we are calling on the President to work with Congress to delay the exchanges until proper security measures can be developed, tested and verified. There is no legitimate reason to push forward with this arbitrary October 1st deadline, particularly when the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, the HHS Inspector General, and Congressional hearings have all sounded alarms over the system's readiness.
Time is crucial, as HHS has already begun a "pre-registration" effort to get people signed up for ObamaCare without any security system in place. And the ObamaCare "Navigators" tasked with enrolling people will not even be subject to background checks. Americans need to be aware of the vast potential for fraud, abuse and identity theft that the ObamaCare exchange data hub presents before enrolling. Just recently a poll found that 57 percent of Americans already consider the implementation of ObamaCare to be "a joke" -- we must act now to prevent it from becoming a cybersecurity crisis.
Rep. Diane Black is a Republican from Tennessee and has been a registered nurse for over 40 years. Rep. Patrick Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican, is chairman of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee.
Click here to read Congressmen Black and Meehan’s op-ed on USAToday.com.