Morning Action: Who Needs Security and Affordability When You’ve Got President Obama’s Word?
A CBS News analysis finds key tests to ensure the security and privacy of customer information on troubled Obamacare website fell behind schedule.
A deadline for final security plans was delayed three times over the summer, and final top-to-bottom security tests never were finished before the launch.
All of that is adding to concerns about the safety of personal information on the site.
Those “concerns” are the disturbing reality for a South Carolina resident whose personal information was accidentally revealed to a stranger in North Carolina through HealthCare.gov:
The story broke Saturday night, when Hadley and Dougall, unable to reach anyone at HealthCare.gov or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, spoke to Heritage about the problem.
Hadley discovered Dougall’s personal information after logging on to HealthCare.gov last week. Hadley was looking for insurance information after his current health policy was canceled; Dougall had shopped for a new plan last month, but opted not to sign up.
In an interview with Fox News, Dougall said there is still no system in place for reporting a security breach — a major problem that’s causing lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to push for the site to be taken down.
YOUNG PEOPLE. Young people are already avoiding Obamacare, which raises serious concerns about the law’s viability (sub. req’d):
If the trend continues, an older, more expensive set of customers could drive up prices for everyone, the insurers say, by forcing them to spread their costs around. “We need a broad range of people to make this work, and we’re not seeing that right now,” said Heather Thiltgen of Medical Mutual of Ohio, the state’s largest insurer by individual customers. “We’re seeing the population skewing older.”
The early numbers, described to The Wall Street Journal by insurance executives, agents, state officials and actuaries, are still small—partly a consequence of the continuing technical problems plaguing the federally run exchanges, experts say.HealthCare.gov, the federally run marketplace serving 36 states, is suffering serious technical problems that have prevented many people from signing up.
But the numbers demonstrate a real-world fallout from the digital snafus: Less-healthy customers are more likely to persevere through technical obstacles to gain coverage, insurers say. Younger, healthier customers who feel less need for insurance—but whose widespread participation is important to the financial success of the system—could be quicker to give up.
FALSE PROMISE. President Obama is suddenly adding some clarification to the overly simplified promise that he have to Americans for years that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed. So we wrote into the Affordable Care Act, you’re grandfathered in on that plan. But if the insurance company changes it, then what we’re saying is they’ve got to change it to a higher standard. They’ve got to make it better, they’ve got to improve the quality of the plan they are selling. That’s part of the promise that we made too. That’s why we went out of our way to make sure that the law allowed for grandfathering.
GLITCHES. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has encountered serious problems with the Obamacare roll out, and not one individual has paid for insurance through the exchange:
Blue Cross Blue Shield has more than 3.7 million customers in our state, but internal emails obtained by WNCN show that as of last Friday, only one person had enrolled for health insurance through the Exchange and that person hasn’t paid.
Without payment, enrollment means nothing because the customer is still not officially in the system.
Part of that payment issue may come from the government’s technical problems. Blue Cross Blue Shield emails indicate the “payment re-direct option” on the government servers isn’t working.
In fact, the government’s whole system is so plagued that emails say BCBS made a “business decision to refrain from uploading data” to prevent false data from entering its system.
OUTAGES. CMS acknowledged a HealthCare.gov outage Monday afternoon, and a lead contractor on the project said, “we expect these occasional outages are likely to occur.”
HealthCare.gov experienced an outage of about 90 minutes this afternoon, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Director of Communications Julie Bataille said during the agency’s daily news briefing.
While the application and enrollment functions were not available, the data services hub was online during that time, Bataille said. The outage wasn’t related to similar outages last week, when a Verizon Terremark data center went offline twice, she said.
ENDA. The Employment-Non Discrimination Act moved forward in the Senate Monday:
With the support of every member of the Democratic caucus and some Republicans, the Senate on Monday voted to move forward with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would prohibit discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill is now all but sure to pass in the Senate, where a handful of Republicans voted Monday to proceed with the bill — including one stalwart conservative, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Still, its fate in the Republican-led House is unclear. A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Monday that the speaker opposes the legislation.
The Heritage Foundation has explained why this legislation would harm civil liberties, religious liberty, and job creation. It is based in large part on the tenuously defined term, “gender identity,”
ENDA could also have serious unintended consequences. It would impose liability on employers for alleged “discrimination” based not on objective employee traits, but on subjective and unverifiable identities.