President Obama’s health care law creates an electronic information “hub” containing the Social Security numbers and other personal information of all Americans, overseen by “less than a dozen” people, administration officials told Congress today.
Officials at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other agencies will have access to Social Security numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses — even “whether I ever got a DUI,” said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., during a joint hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Health Care and the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies.
Henry Chao, the deputy chief information officer at CMS, assured Perry that officials would “try to accommodate” any complaints registered by Americans who object to having such personal information stored by the government.
“We factor those comments in and categorize them and take a serious look at the policy and legal angles and [technical implementation angles],” he said during the hearing.
Stephen Parente, a health policy and IT expert at the University of Minnesota, suggested to Bloomberg that the information hub will be a “hacking target,” but CMS “has a robust security monitoring system that reviews all security events, tools, requirements, and network device logs to identify, assess, and manage vulnerabilities and threats,” according to CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner.