Video: The PR push this weekend will have a strangely missing ingredient
posted at 1:01 pm on November 27, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
And that will be “the price.” This segment on Fox Business with Forbes’ Avik Roy starts off by discussing the continuing security gaps in Healthcare.gov, which leave consumers vulnerable to identity theft by exposing their private data in the exchange. The middle of the segment is even more intriguing, though, as Roy points out that the entities pushing older Americans to “have the talk” with their younger family members is a supreme expression of self-interest — and that “the talk” doesn’t include how younger consumers are getting exploited to subsidize the premium prices of older consumers (via The Corner):
PCWorld warned readers this week about the shockingly substandard data security on Healthcare.gov:
White-hat hackers examine systems, searching for security flaws. But instead of criminally exploiting whatever flaws they find, they report them so that the systems can become more secure. Kennedy is chief executive of TrustedSec, a security company.
On a Monday morning interview on CNBC, Kennedy offered some harsh words about the Obamacare Web site. After noting the well-publicized performance problems, “we basically started poking and prodding and looking at the security, and we found that it was pretty bad all around… Putting your information on there is definitely a risk.”
What could happen to people who use the site should it be compromised? Kennedy warns of “everything from hacking someone’s computer so when you visit the website it actually tries to hack your computer back, all the way to being able to extract email addresses, users names—first name, last name—[and] locations.”
Kennedy testified before Congress last week on the issue, and TrustedSec published a damning report. TrustedSec found “clear indicators that even basic security was not built into the healthcare.gov website.” The report warns “the website has critical risks associated with it and security concerns should be remediated immediately.”
Kennedy explained to CNBC that “When you develop a website, you develop it with security in mind. And it doesn’t appear to have happened this time…It’s really hard to go back and fix the security around it because security wasn’t built into it.”
How long will it take to fix the site? Kennedy estimated on CNBC that ” We’re talking about multiple months to over a year.”
Well, that’ll make for cheery conversation around the Thanksgiving table tomorrow, won’t it? But rather than arm up for a big fight over politics and “the talk,” perhaps we should spend Thanksgiving … being thankful. I know this is a radical concept this year, but in my column at The Week, I make the plea to leave the feast of blessing alone — for the good of the ObamaCare activists, really:
Organizing for America expects a lot more from the president’s supporters than a placemat on the table. OFA (at the URL barackobama.com, no less) has an extensive, four-step process designed to force family members into discussing and debating the merits of the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare — and as a disaster for the White House and Democrats. Millions have lost coverage thanks to the mandates in the individual markets, and at least 14 million more may lose their employer-based coverage by next Thanksgiving.
Given these conditions, urging activists to “have the talk” with family and friends seems almost like a suicide mission. Step 3 provides helpful conversation starters, such as, “Have you thought about signing up for health insurance on the new marketplace?” This suggests that people have achoice in doing so, as though it’s a helpful elective for regular folks. ObamaCare forces those not covered in employer-based group plans to enroll through their web portal or directly through insurers by the end of the year, or face a fine. With all of the news about the failures of the front end of the website, most of those who have no choice probably want to postpone it as long as possible — especially since the back-end functions of the site either don’t exist or don’t work properly yet. In fact, the White House just announced that its December 1 deadline for “full functionality” has changed to an expectation of somewhat fewer periods of “suboptimal performance.”
That brings us to the next icebreaker suggested by OFA: “Would you like to take some time with me to sign up right now?” Based on the performance of the Healthcare.gov website, “some time” might mean “we’ll miss dinner and dessert and still not get enrolled.” OFA then tells its activists to “ask them to make a plan, and commit to it,” when the people who had 42 months to deliver a web portal not only couldn’t succeed in meeting their own self-imposed deadline, they couldn’t stick to the fallback repair date, either. The Obama administration has attempted to defend its abject failure by citing the complexity of the project and its infrastructure. OFA, however, considers complexity for users in the face of all this dysfunction a “misconception,” for which it offers activists a scripted rebuttal.
This Thanksgiving, may our readers have the blessing of avoiding such table talk. We have plenty of time to debate the issues of the day. Let’s spend one day — just one — appreciating each other for who we are, rather than for our policy positions.
Do it for the children.