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Government United States IT

Obamacare Exchanges Months Behind In Testing IT Data Security 398

Posted by Soulskill
from the moving-at-the-speed-of-government dept.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a Reuters report: "The federal government is months behind in testing data security for the main pillar of Obamacare: allowing Americans to buy health insurance on state exchanges due to open by October 1. The missed deadlines have pushed the government's decision on whether information technology security is up to snuff to exactly one day before that crucial date, the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general said in a report. As a result, experts say, the exchanges might open with security flaws or, possibly but less likely, be delayed.'They've removed their margin for error,' said Deven McGraw, director of the health privacy project at the non-profit Center for Democracy & Technology. 'There is huge pressure to get (the exchanges) up and running on time, but if there is a security incident they are done. It would be a complete disaster from a PR viewpoint.' The most likely serious security breach would be identity theft, in which a hacker steals the social security numbers and other information people provide when signing up for insurance."
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Obamacare Exchanges Months Behind In Testing IT Data Security

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  • by rcoxdav (648172) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:14AM (#44495885)
    By the history of large government IT projects, this is pretty well normal. The DOD, IRS, and just about every large department has had anything from minor to major disasters when setting up or updating systems.

    I think too much of this is due to government bidding requirements that put too much emphasis on who you know more than what you know. I have seen too many stories where competence is the last thing looked at for contractors.
    • by bfandreas (603438)
      Colour me shocked.
      On top of the usual delays they find it hard to guarantee that their IT system is completely free of any security flaws whatsoever. If they manage to scientifically show the system is reasonably secure then I will hope to read the book and the acceptance speech for the Turing Prize. I will not however read the requirement documents. These will be absolute shambles and as thick as a couple of phonebooks.

      Best of luck to our fellow geeks in the trenches of this ruddy mess. I've been there
    • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:31AM (#44496001) Homepage Journal
      Do you have any data that says they have more issues than private companies who undertake IT systems of a similar size? You are probably just more aware of the failures of the government systems because they are by nature public(obviously excluding NSA CIA etc....). Any sort of large IT system has plenty of places it can fail, slipping deadlines aren't exactly solely a "government" thing.
    • by Motard (1553251)

      They should enlist the aid of the National Security Agency. Nobody can steal data from that place.

  • by schwit1 (797399) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:19AM (#44495911)

    "hacker steals the social security numbers and other information people provide when signing up for insurance."

    Why would anyone provide a social security number to be used for medical purposes?

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:21AM (#44495927)

    Obamacare failing doesn't serve anyone's interests. And it won't succeed. Its too poorly set up to do anything but fail.

    So if you want socialized medicine... this will only make your idea appear stupid or your political allies too inept to execute such a plan.

    If you don't want socialized medical care this will effectively give it to you anyway... but it will be even more expensive... badly run... and generally all the negatives will be more negative.

    So lets not do this... kill it and restart the debate on it. Does that mean the supporters will have to ACTUALLY get support for their program this time instead of sneaking it through? Yes. But they should have done that in the first place and this is so screwed up in large part because they broke the rules.

    I know what the supporters are going to say... that they followed the letter of the law. Possibly by the narrowest possible definition. But you know damn well that you broke the spirit of the law in half getting there.

    That said, that isn't the point of my post. My point is that indifferent to all that, Obamacare is unfixable. It needs to be put down like a rabid dog and THEN we can evaluate what our options are after that. But causing American insurance premiums to double is not in any one's interest. Stop it.

    If you care about the poor. Stop it.
    If you care about jobs. Stop it.
    If you care about the country. Stop it.

    At this point, the only reason to support it is ego... aka fear of looking like a fool after investing so much political capital into the issue... or ignorance.

    That's all that's left.

    • kill the bill with no replacement and sick kids may get cut off. AS well as others with Pre-Existing Conditions

      • by khallow (566160)
        So what? How's that worse than the ongoing crippling of the US health care system and economy?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ebno-10db (1459097)

      Obamacare failing doesn't serve anyone's interests.

      Sure it does. The insurance companies love it. Why do you think their stocks went up immediately after it was passed? Who could complain about guaranteed customers?

      So if you want socialized medicine...

      Who wants socialized medicine? Socialized medical insurance would be nice though. Maybe it's why Canadians seem happy and friendly all the time (or maybe that's the effect of too much maple syrup).

      Does that mean the supporters will have to ACTUALLY get support for their program this time instead of sneaking it through?

      Sneak it through? The biggest political debate of that year, months and months of continual coverage and debate in the media, followed by votes in cong

      • Oops, misread "Obamacare failing doesn't serve anyone's interests" as "Obamacare doesn't serve anyone's interests". That rather changes the GP. Must remember not to post before second cup of coffee.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        At least their maple syrup is probably pure and not that HFCS filled crap we eat down here in the states.

        Gee, I wonder if that's one reason Americans are so unhealthy in the first place...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      So if you want socialized medicine... this will only make your idea appear stupid or your political allies too inept to execute such a plan.

      If you don't want socialized medical care this will effectively give it to you anyway... but it will be even more expensive... badly run... and generally all the negatives will be more negative.

      Too bad RomneyObamacare (the Romney MA plan and Obama's plan are basically identical) isn't actually socialized medicine, eh? I wonder what would have happened had Obama created a National Health Service like other civilized countries.

      My overall take is that it will suck, but it will suck somewhat less than if it hadn't been created. There is every indication that there will be fewer people without insurance, fewer medical bankruptcies, and less insurance company shenanigans. It's far from perfect, but shou

    • Obamacare is progress, and that's a good thing. There's too much money involved to suddenly shut down the private health "insurance" system. This is a good first step. After Obamacare, it'll be easy to eventually migrate everybody into Medicaid or Medicare, and it'll be finished.
    • I just don't understand why they had to pass it in such a monolithic form as to make the bad get thrown out with the good.

      They should have passed a collection of bills, much like the Bill of Rights, with the following included as individual bills:
      1. Abolition of pre-existing conditions clauses
      2. Abolition of payout maximums
      3. Universal eligibility for coverage
      4. Dependent age increase
      5. Government subsidized coverage with health insurance exchanges

      If you'll notice, #5 is the only one anyone disagrees w

      • by DogDude (805747)
        Your idea is to force private companies to operate in a manner dictated by the government. What's the point of the private company at all?
    • by Ksevio (865461)

      Obamacare is unfixable. It needs to be put down like a rabid dog and THEN we can evaluate what our options are after that.

      The problem is people like you that are entirely inflexible. There are definitely flaws in ObamaCare - it's a huge bill - but most bills that size would have been updated and fixed a few times by congress. Unfortunately, there are some in congress that would rather not fix it, but just go back and start again.

      It's been a few years now since ObamaCare's been passed, where are the better ideas? The only thing we've seen are minor things (e.g. malpractice reform) from Republicans that would do little to

  • by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:22AM (#44495935)

    Why is it that I'm seeing half the stories on Slashdot, after they spent a day or two on Drudge Report? Especially ones that are only slightly "News for nerds" material?

    Are that many /.ers closet Drudge readers?

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:38AM (#44496043) Journal

    What's even dumber is the concept of state-level exchanges.
    A primary driver of high health-care costs is the balkanization of healthcare across states.

    Allow the voluntary harmonization of various states' health care codes, which would in turn allow insurance providers to offer the same plan in several states. The 'health care exchanges' offered in the Obamacare bill would have been a perfect opportunity to allow capitalism to work to lower costs and increase competitive pressures - this plan merely ossifies the state-level segmentation of the marketplace.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Why voluntary?

      Interstate commerce is something the feds are supposed to regulate. If a state has a health care code being used to prevent Interstate commerce make them fix it.

    • by DogDude (805747)
      Capitalism doesn't fix everything.
  • Affordable health care, as the fine print in the approved rate sheet linked to from NY Governor Cuomo's press release reveals, can mean annual premium of as much as $35k for a family of 3 (for a 'platinum' plan). So, Congress was no doubt relieved to learn last week that they won't be eating their own health care dogfood after all â" the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has decided to allow the government to subsidize coverage for its employees on the exchanges. If you're curious, plug your numbers

    • How is the government subsidizing coverage for its employees any different from private sector employers paying some or all of their employees' premiums as a job benefit?

    • And the amount California's insurance cost calculator shows me is $80/month cheaper than what my employer currently pays for me, and over $200/month cheaper than the cheapest plan I could find as an individual when I was unemployed over 5 years ago.

  • If the exchanges are to be run by the states, why is the federal government responsible for their IT data security? The states want more flexibility and responsibility, let them manage that aspect on their own.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @10:41AM (#44497315) Homepage

    Honestly, I have never seen ONE Government IT or IS project that was not staffed by morons and run by bigger morons. Why the hell cant they hire people that have a clue? And on top of that hire people to manage it that have the balls and authority to tell any elected official to "DIAF" any time they suggest something stupid?

Repel them. Repel them. Induce them to relinquish the spheroid. - Indiana University fans' chant for their perennially bad football team

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