The spin of this story is that “privacy concerns” are “delaying” Obamacare and threatening the October 1 deadline.
The grammar is misleading. It tries to lead the reader to think that the Obamacare countdown was going along just fine and then something unforeseeable and alien to it has obstructed its progress.
That is not what is happening.
Simply put: The October 1 rollout date is probably going to be missed because the government cannot possibly get the job completed on time. The online health exchanges are supposed to be up and running, but that is extremely unlikely.
So, in the news cycle, we are being asked to view a component of the online health exchanges—the capacity to protect the data of “customers” from hackers—as an alien element that is “blocking” the government from completing its mission. That is a completely gratuitous description.
“The Office of Inspector General issued a report Monday saying the contractor given the job of developing a system security plan had missed deadlines — the same day the Department of Health and Human Services started allowing people to set up personal accounts and passwords on the website for the federal exchange. The Health Insurance Marketplace website will ask for Social Security numbers and income information as part of determining whether someone qualifies for subsidies toward buying coverage. Final security documents were supposed to be submitted to the inspector general May 6 and July 1, but a government contractor for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services missed those deadlines, the inspector general’s report said. ‘If there are additional delays in completing the security authorization package, the CMS chief information officer may not have a full assessment of system risks and security controls needed for the security authorization decision by the initial opening period expected to begin Oct. 1,’ the report said.”
OK, so only the security contractor is missing deadlines. That is probably because guaranteeing security to national online database is extremely difficult.
Let me suggest a security fix: Let us not have a national health exchange. Let us not do it.
We already know that private criminals (and perhaps other nations) have been able to use government spying or even government data collection to gain access to the private data of Americans. Any time there is a government database, hackers know there is a target that, if they succeed in accessing it, will provide them with a great deal of value.
Furthermore, we already know that HHS has made promises about how they will preserve the security of the database that are far too lax. Perhaps the contractor has realized that, with such insufficient security measures, there is no way he can provide a system that will really be secure.
In any case, while the story first blames security, it later admits that there have been other aspects of the health exchange that has also missed deadline.
I think these delays would be great, if we could just extend them forever.