WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A memo the Obama administration turned over to the House Oversight Committee revealed that the White House granted itself a waiver to launch the faulty HealthCare.gov website with “a level of uncertainty.”
The waiver was granted four days before the Oct. 1 launch of the Obamacare website, even though it was “deemed as a high (security) risk,” according to CBS News.
CBS News reports tests to secure customer information privacy on the federal health exchange website fell behind schedule, with a required top-to-bottom security test before the launch of the site never getting done. From May 6 to July 16, the deadline for final security plans fell through three times, while security assessments — which were supposed to be finished June 7 –were pushed back to Aug. 16 and then Aug. 23.
“Nothing can undermine public confidence more than the fear of a security and privacy breach,” Georgetown Law professor Lawrence Gostin said. “You could have somebody hack into the system, get your Social Security number, get your financial information.”
Despite Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner accepting the risk and “mitigation” measures, three officials said in a statement that “does not reduce the risk” of an Oct. 1 launch, CBS News reports.
The Obama administration insists nobody will lose coverage as a result of cancellation notices going out to millions of people. At least 3.5 million Americans have been issued cancellations, but the exact number is unclear. Associated Press checks find that data is unavailable in a half the states.
During a speech before Organizing for Action Monday night, Obama described what he meant when he previously said that no one would lose their coverage under the new law.
“Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed. So we wrote into the Affordable Care Act you’re grandfathered in on that plan,” Obama said. “But if the insurance company changes it, then what we’re saying is they’ve got to change it to a higher standard. They’ve got to make it better. They’ve got to improve the quality of the plan that they’re selling. That’s part of the promise that we made, too.”
The administration refuses to release enrollment numbers until mid-November, when a crash program of computer fixes may be showing results. The numbers are expected to be disappointingly low.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)