The House of Representatives’ GOP-led Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, in order to thoroughly examine the cyber security deficiencies of President Barack Obama’s healthcare web site, the committee’s chairman, Michael McCaul, R-Texas, announced on Friday.
The Homeland Security Committee is expected to also investigate what security measures are in place to verify the immigration status of individuals seeking healthcare coverage, especially those who are requesting government health care subsidies.
According to McCaul, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the agency responsible for the .gov domain, yet no one from DHS participated in the planning, design or operation of the security aspects of Healthcare.gov.
Instead, the site’s security is being overseen by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) without significant input from DHS, law enforcement or the intelligence community, according to committee lawmakers.
What many find disturbing is the discovery that CMS has no privacy or security agreements in place with DHS to protect the personal data of millions of Americans held in the federal healthcare exchanges, despite promises to the Homeland Security Committee that they would be in place by October 1.
This hearing will allow both DHS and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to explain their roles, if any, in securing and maintaining the integrity of Healthcare.gov.
“Healthcare.gov’s flaws aren’t merely about trying to access the site, there are larger issues yet to be resolved. Americans are entering their most sensitive personal data into the Healthcare.gov web site and now the same people who told us the system would work are telling us it is secure,” said Rep. McCaul.
“As Americans start to submit their personal information, we must examine how safe that information is once it’s placed on Healthcare.gov, the federal healthcare exchanges and the Datahub,” McCaul added.
While DHS is charged with securing these, and all .gov entities, the lack of that department’s involvement further highlights the poor planning, design and implementation of the Obamacare web site and the entire Affordable Care Act, say critics
“This hearing will look at what DHS has done to secure Healthcare.gov, as well as DHS’s other role in Obamacare – verifying the immigration status of applicants. Before Americans are forced to enter their personal information into a flawed web site, they should be reassured that it won’t be compromised,” noted the congressman from the Lone Star State.