Obamacare: Invitation to fraud
posted at 9:01 pm on November 11, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham
On “The O’Reilly Factor” tonight, we talked about the chance that Obamacare navigators could be bad actors, urging people to lie about their income or health, as new video from Project Veritas suggests they already are.
The navigator system— with grants given to plenty of left-leaning community organizers to lead citizens to the entitlement—was always fertile ground for mischief. It’s been made more problematic by the incompetence of the administration.
Navigators were originally required to go through 30 hours of training, but that requirement was later cut to 20 hours because the navigator program, like the rest of Obamacare, was falling on its face. As Guy Benson reported in August, back when the administration was still claiming it was totally ready:
“Opening day for the new health-insurance marketplaces is two months away, but efforts to recruit and train workers to help people enroll are barely off the ground in many states. With time running short before enrollment kicks off Oct. 1, the Obama administration last week cut back on training requirements for these ‘navigators.’ Officials were concerned there might not be enough time to do more-extensive training before the health-insurance exchanges open … Three weeks ago, the administration said navigators would need up to 30 hours of training before they start, but it said last week that 20 hours would be sufficient.”
So rather than maintaining some semblance of quality control, the administration has slashed by one-third the amount of training taxpayer-funded Obamacare ‘experts’ will receive before they’re “qualified” to walk ordinary Americans through the process of obtaining healthcare through the law’s exchanges. Yes, these are the same under-trained, under-vetted “navigators” that privacy experts worry will have too much unfettered access to reams of citizens’ confidential information.
HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius just admitted in an exchange with Sen. John Cornyn that there is no requirement that navigators, who have access to your most important personal information, go through a criminal background check:
“Isn’t it true that there is no federal requirement for navigators to undergo a criminal background check,” Cornyn asked her.
“That is true,” Sebelius answered. “States could add in additional background checks and other features, but it is not part of the federal requirement.”
Cornyn pressed, “So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them?”
Sebelius answered, “This is possible.”
But the navigators are by no means the only open window for crooks in Obamacare. Let’s go over the website itself, which did not even go through a top-to-bottom security check before launching:
As a test, CBS gave one technology expert the real healthcare.gov username of a CBS employee, and within seconds, he identified the specific security question she used to reset her password.
Sean Henry, the former assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division, said the security issues need to be taken seriously.
“If somebody’s got the ability to look at a source code and able to reverse-engineer that and identify what somebody’s personal questions are, that should be of concern,” Henry said.
Early stumbles on the hobbled Obamacare website — password glitches, incomplete testing and fractured development — underscore considerable safety risks and hint at deeper vulnerabilities, data security experts warn.
Lawmakers seized on those concerns Tuesday and will most likely do so again Wednesday, reverting attention to a process that has astounded IT specialists…
A software tester recently discovered a series of potential security flaws, including one in the site’s password-reset function that would enable a skilled hacker to access users’ email and security questions. Another allowed a password-reset request to send information to third-party analytics companies such as Pingdom and Google’s DoubleClick. A report this week indicated that a North Carolina man logged on to the site only to receive eligibility information about someone in another state.
Tavenner called the latest concern a “personal identification issue,” the agency corrected. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius labeled the password glitch a “theoretical problem that was immediately fixed” and insisted at a recent House hearing that the website stores “the minimum amount of data.” The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday is expected to question her further.
These issues, while small, go against industry best practices the administration says it follows. Security analysts fear they hint at bigger bugs in the system. Such weaknesses might not only allow hackers to access personal information but make it easier to engage in clickjacking — a process where harmful links appear like legitimate portions of a website — or pharming, where criminals direct users to a bogus site and take their information.
Obamacare is a system so complex, so incompetently administered that it doesn’t even require malice on the part of navigators or the bill’s allies to screw up people’s lives royally. What if you add malice and intent to the mix?
With millions of Americans frustrated and bewildered by the trouble-prone federal website for health insurance, con men and unscrupulous marketers are seizing their chance. State and federal authorities report a rising number of consumer complaints, ranging from deceptive sales practices to identity theft, linked to the Affordable Care Act.
Madeleine Mirzayans was fooled when a man posing as a government official knocked on her door. Barbara Miller and Maevis Ethan were pitched by telemarketers who claimed to work for Medicaid. And Buford Price was almost caught by another trap: websites that look official but are actually bait set by fly-by-night insurance operators.
And, even without the inherent problems of the navigator program and website, let’s not forget the Obama administration forfeited the fight against fraud before it even began by forgoing income verification altogether— a disaster in the making papered over by a watered down “fix” in the debt ceiling deal.
In any big program, fraud can creep in. With Obamacare, it’s been invited over for a keg party.
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