You may have vaguely noticed that one aspect of the all out press by Republicans to prevent the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, from coming into effect is to insist that the data infrastructure for the health care exchanges is inadequate to protect our privacy. Former Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue appears to have had a role in this fight -- a role that began while he was Social Security Commissioner. He testified yesterday before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies of the House Committee on Homeland Security. I don't mean to suggest that Astrue has been simply behaving in a partisan way. His concerns seem to be based upon genuine problems in the data infrastructure, problems that may or may not be adequately addressed by the implementing agencies. These appear to me to be no more than the routine, predictable problems inherent in implementing a major new federal program but Congressional Republicans seem intent on puffing this into something much more.
Interestingly, in his written statement to the Subcommittee, Astrue says, with no further explanation, that he "suffered through OPM’s [Office of Personnel Management's] inept response when my federal financial records were breached two years ago."