Last month, an employee of MNsure, Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange, accidentally sent an unencrypted email to the wrong person. The email contained the private information of over two thousand people, and went to a local insurance broker.
The broker, Jim Koester, deleted the information, and later reported it, but the incident was a striking illustration of the insecurity of the Obamacare system. The data included names, addresses and Social Security numbers, as well as other information. As Koester told the Minnesota Star Tribune, “What if this had fallen into the wrong hands? It’s scary. If this is happening now, how can clients of MNsure be confident that their data is safe?”
Though the majority of Americans were ideologically skeptical of Obamacare when it was initially passed, it has been developments in the past few months which have illustrated practical problems with the program’s implementation. Members of Congress and experts have been concerned for weeks about database integrity and design flaws, as well as the selection of employees trusted with the data.
The incident also compounds concerns Obamacare critics have expressed since the beginning about the program’s data mining. As long as it’s stored at a state level, doctors are encouraged to ask very private information about individuals. The data does not only include identifiers such as name, address and SSN, but also income, citizenship status, tax information, family size, citizenship, health plan enrollment, incarceration status and even gun ownership.
Some of this data cannot be stored at the federal level, but it can be stored at the state level and used by the federal government at any time. The fact that the system, called the Hub, is run by thousands of unvetted, low level federal employees, who can easily access it for their own gain or spread it to others unintentionally, only adds to that concern. The recent NSA and IRS scandals have shown how willing the government is to abuse its possession of such information, and Obamacare has now revealed how insecure this possession is.
This leak – and the similar ones which will inevitably follow – also comes at a time in which this data can impact people’s lives most strongly. Not only can leaks lead to identity theft, they can lead to the publishing of information which leads to simple conflict which would not otherwise happen. In 2009, for instance, Wikileaks – which relies almost exclusively on leaks by government employees – published the membership list of the controversial British National Party, which remains online today and has led to firings.
Obamacare’s collection and storing of data on private citizens is wrong, but the fact that it is handled with such irresponsibility is unconscionable. The October 1 MNsure leak was a perfect illustration of this problem, and a situation which will likely be repeated with less benign results. As Democrats refuse to make any compromise whatsoever on Obamacare, it’s worthwhile to note the severe problems, both ideological and practical, of the system.
Ben Swann warned the public on this risk. See article here. Unfortunately the possibility of American’s personal data being breached in this massive Government program has now become a reality.