On October 1st, 2013 the Federal Data Services Hub – a key component of the ObamaCare health care law – is set to go live.
The Federal Data Services Hub will store the personal information of more than 20 million Americans estimated to enter into the ObamaCare health exchange over the next five years.
This information will include names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, employment information, gender and ethnicity status.
This massive, unprecedented network controlled by the federal government will connect seven different government agencies and create a new access point to the private, personal health information of millions of American families.
The IRS will provide employment and income verification. The Department of Homeland Security will furnish information on immigration status. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will provide information on veteran status.
The Social Security Administration, Medicare, TRICARE, the Office of Personnel Management – even the Peace Corps – will all be a part of the hub’s data collection effort.
Individual state governments will also contribute and have access to the data. Potentially thousands of bureaucrats, scattered around the Nation, could have access to every American’s private information through the hub.
University of Minnesota finance professor and health information technology expert Stephen Parente said it, “could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the Republic.”
Yet despite assurances from Administration officials that the data system has been tested and certified as secure, many legitimate questions remain concerning the federal government’s ability to safeguard the personal and financial records of millions of Americans.
The Washington, DC newspaper The Hill last week reported, “ObamaCare exchange leaks data of 2,400 unsuspecting customers."
The House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which I am a member, held a hearing recently where individuals responsible for the implementation of the President’s health care law raised grave concerns about the readiness and functionality of the federal health exchanges.
Last month the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General issued a report saying the federal government had failed to meet multiple deadlines for testing operations and reporting data security vulnerabilities involved with the hub.
And experts called to testify before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection subcommittee argued at a recent hearing that the data hub is a prime target for a cyber attack.
That’s why I support a delay the implementation of ObamaCare until we can better understand the hub’s vast scope and its unprecedented potential for theft or abuse of Americans’ personal information.
Regardless of your position on the President's health care law, it is clear that the federal government does not yet have the policies, procedures and tools in place to keep Americans’ sensitive information secure.
I believe that ObamaCare should be fully repealed and replaced with common-sense reforms that will actually lower healthcare costs.
Let’s at the very least delay ObamaCare until we can ensure that the privacy of U.S. taxpayers is protected. October 1 is right around the corner. Time is of the essence.
Congressman Leonard Lance represents the Seventh Congressional District of New Jersey, covering all of Hunterdon County, and parts of Somerset, Morris, Union, Warren and Essex Counties. For more information on Congressman Lance please visit lance.house.gov.