ObamaCare Rejected! States Refuse To Implement. No Impact on Medicare.

States were given until until 14 December, 2012 to decide if they would build a health insurance exchange (HIX) or defer to the federal government. The health insurance exchange system is central to the government’s ability to provide regulated health insurance services to individuals if it’s not provided to them by an employer.

The deadline has come and gone, and the exchange concept was rejected by more than half of the states. They are simply refusing to participate in this crucial component of the Affordable Care Act law. So far, 18 states and the District of Columbia have plans to build and manage their own exchanges, while seven others have asked the federal government to create their exchanges.

The majority of the states carried by Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election refuse to build an exchanges. These states, generally speaking, would vote to repeal Obamacare. State leaders carefully listened to their constituents when they decided to say no to spending taxpayer money to build a HIX of their own.

It isn’t just the Romney states. States that President Obama carried in the election are also rejecting the plan. Most notably Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Wisconsin and New Hampshire said no. Is this politics or economics?

Earlier this month Texas Governor Rick Perry, who also nixed the idea of his state creating an exchange, said “The idea that you’ve got a state-instituted exchange, but it has to be federally approved. So the fact is the federal government’s going to have to run these,” Perry said. “And they don’t have the expertise, nor do they have the money.” Perry is just one of many governors predicting that the implementation of Obamacare is “going to be a disaster.”

Could this lack of state participation mean that states will not have access to health insurance plans by 1 October, 2013, as mandated by law?

The uncertainty of the exchanges raises serious the questions. Can Obamacare be fully implemented by 2014 when the individual mandate requires all citizens to have private health insurance? Given the enormity of building the complex system, gathering the massive amounts of data required, and gaining cooperation at the state level, it seems probable that failure or a serious delay is looming.

Is ObamaCare Headed for a Personal Privacy Disaster Worse than Medicare?

As we get ready to start the new year I have serious concerns. At the top of the list is personal privacy and the potential for fraud within the central system designed to implement the benefits offered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, “ObamaCare”).

For decades seniors have complained about, and suffered from, the fraud that runs rampant through the Medicare program. At the root of the problem is a serious lack of security protecting social security numbers. Every year, tens of thousands of seniors fall victim to identity theft, and the tax payers get soaked to the tune of $60 million, or more. Regardless of the efforts by the Justice Department to round up the bad guys, the federal government has failed to deal with the root problem. The fraud persists.

Now, as the Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX) — the crown jewel of ObamaCare – speed towards opening day on 1 October, 2013, only a small number of states have their projects budgeted, staffed and making progress. Among the states plowing forward is California, with a history of massive project failures at the Health and Welfare Agency.

The fail-safe plan for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is a centralized HIX system that will provide exchange services for the states that opt-out of developing their own (and the states that fail to create one successfully). Although HHS has experience creating large, web-based systems for the Medicare program (e.g., Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Drug Plans), this is the first time it will attempt to pull personal information about 300 million people from a myriad of agencies, including the IRS, Social Security Administration, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and the state tax boards.

The data gathering is sensible, in the abstract. Similar information is collected when you apply for a mortgage. But when the constantly updated information is combined in a central data hub, the potential for abuse is staggering. For one thing, the hub will have all the details needed to steal identities and fraudulently access credit.

The data gathering is necessary. Similar information is collected about you when you apply for a home loan. However, when constantly changing data is centrally maintained, the opportunity for abuse is mind blowing, and could make the Medicare fraud problem look like child’s play.

The new HHS central database will have all of the information the government needs to determine eligibility. That means it will have everything thieves need to steal your identity and fraudulently access your credit. Without the proper security measures in place, it’s a ticking time bomb.

With an incredibly short time frame to develop the federal health insurance exchange, is the data in the central database guaranteed to be secure? I sure hope so.