Four days after being notified of a security breach on HealthCare.gov, the Obama Administration finally acknowledged tonight the website inadvertently disclosed personal information affecting two users.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services blamed it on “software code.”
“An incident involving the personal information of one consumer was reported to [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] and we took immediate steps to address the issue,” spokesman Fabien Levy said. “We identified a piece of software code that needed to be fixed and that fix is now in place.”
Levy’s characterization of “immediate” is highly suspect. Justin Hadley, the website user who discovered the privacy breach, said he was still able to access another man’s eligibility letter last night — after first discovering it Thursday night.
When he couldn’t reach anyone at HHS or HealthCare.gov, Hadley contacted Heritage to share his story. The Foundry broke the news Saturday night with an exclusive featuring interviews with Hadley and Thomas Dougall, a South Carolina lawyer whose personal information was compromised.
With more media attention on the story today, HHS sought to quell fears about the website’s breach of privacy.
“We have a team working to address security as part of our 24/7 effort,” Levy said in a statement released to the media. “We take security issues very seriously and we will take the appropriate steps to follow up with this individual directly.”
While the so-called “fix” might bring some relief to the Obama Administration — which has endured problems since Obamacare’s October 1 launch — the two men affected by the security breach said they won’t be satisfied until their personal information is removed from HealthCare.gov.
And with congressional hearings happening in Washington this week, officials from Health and Human Services are likely to face fresh questions about the problem-plagued Obamacare website.
The office of Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) released this statement to WIS News 10 in South Carolina, promising to raise the matter during a hearing Tuesday:
Upon learning about the security breach, Senator Scott’s office was in communication with Mr. Dougall over the weekend. We are researching what caused the breach and how the administration can quickly resolve it.
Unfortunately, millions of Americans are vulnerable to similar problems because the Obama administration failed to secure its website before the enrollment period began.
Senator Scott will have the opportunity to discuss this matter during a committee hearing tomorrow with Marilyn Tavenner, who is closely tied to the website as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and will attempt to receive answers about Obamacare’s failure to protect private information.
For more coverage of this story, including developments from this week’s Obamacare hearings, stay tuned to The Foundry.