Federal watchdogs expressed concerns to lawmakers Wednesday about the security of information that will be traded through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance exchanges.
Federal tax information provided to the exchanges in order to determine benefit eligibility may not be adequately protected, an official from the Office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said Wednesday.
Well that’s comforting in this day and age. Over the last 15 years the government has been busy writing all of these laws to supposedly protect our privacy. From whom?
One bright spot…
Witnesses said Wednesday that data is not stored at the hub — only transferred between parties — and disposed of within minutes. Such data includes contact information, employment information, income, Social Security number, date of birth, and certain information about family members.
The exchanges don’t ask for, access, or store personal health information, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said.
But the ACA Navigators will have access to your vitial personal information for at least a short period of time.
However, the hacker threat is the least of the Data Hub worries. The hub will be used on a daily basis by so-called Navigators, which according to the GAO are “community and consumer-focused nonprofit groups, to which exchanges award grants to provide fair and impartial public education” and “refer consumers as appropriate for further assistance.” Thousands of such people will have unfettered access to the Data Hub, but there are only sketchy guidelines on how they will be hired, trained and monitored. Given the slap-dash, incoherent way Obamacare is being implemented the prospect for quality control is low. And the Obama administration’s track record of sweetheart deals, no-bid, sole-source contracting and other means of rewarding people with insider access means the Data Hub will be firmly in the hands of trusted White House loyalists.
So if you think the IRS targeting Tea Party groups was bad, just wait for the Obamacare Navigators to be unleashed. “Trust us,” the administration says, no one will abuse the Data Hub. Sure, because that has worked out so well in the past.
So is the threat to your data from within the government our outside the government?