With the rollout of Obamacare’s exchanges less than two months away, one former administrator from the Health and Human Services department says that the program’s privacy system is nowhere near ready.
“It’s chaos,” Michael Astrue said on Fox News last night. HHS procrastinated in designing the system, he explained, ultimately throwing it together hastily in order to meet the October 1 date. “They played catch up, and they didn’t have the time and money to do it right — they started doing shortcuts,” he explained.
Astrue directly blamed Donald Berwick, the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which was in charge of the project, for “personal incompetence” in preparing the security program. He claimed that Berwick tried, as pressure continued to mount, to pressure other agencies within HHS to fund and take responsibility for the system.
Critics of the exchanges have worried that, if the system isn’t properly secured, millions of Americans’ personal information could be accessible to criminals and hackers. NRO columnist Avik Roy has a very thorough rundown on Forbes of the concerns facing the system.