KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Concerns About Security Risks Raised Before Health Website Opened, Government Memo Shows

Reuters reports on the memo, which says a lack of testing put the site at "high risk." But a government spokeswoman says steps were taken to fix those concerns. At the same time, CBS examines the system failures in tests before the launch.

Reuters: Obamacare Website Security At 'High Risk' Before Launch -- Memo
The security of the Obama administration's healthcare website was at "high risk" because of lack of testing before it opened for enrollment on October 1, according to a government memorandum reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday. The site collects a trove of sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers, email addresses, phone numbers and birth dates that could be used by criminals in an array of schemes. A government spokeswoman said on Wednesday that steps to mitigate security concerns have been implemented since the memo was written on September 27 and that consumer data is secure (Finkle, 10/30).

CBS News: Obamacare Website Failed In Tests Just Before Launch Date
One of the mysteries of the problems with the Obamacare website is why Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius would give the "all clear" after the system failed, repeatedly, during tests days before its debut. CBS News has learned the website failed with a small test pool of 200 to 300 people that included employees from the government and insurance companies. The government employees worked at their own computers and desks within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversaw the health care implementation. According to sources familiar with the process, CMS employees were provided fake personal information to enter into rather than their own data and were given a date that testing would begin. However, on that date, the employees were told it was being postponed (Attkisson, 10/30).

Meanwhile - 

Politico Pro: Few House  Republicans Show Up For HHS Briefing
House Republicans clamored for an Obamacare briefing from administration officials — just like the one Democrats got. But when they got that meeting Wednesday, a handful of members showed up. Republicans emerging from the closed-door session with Mike Hash, director of HHS's Office of Health Reform, said about 10 to 20 members came to hear what Hash had to say about the health care law's bungled rollout — even though they've been complaining that they're not getting enough details from the administration about it (Cunningham, 10/30).  

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