Characterized as "one of the most complex computer projects in the government's history" by Bloomberg, the technical aspects of Obamacare are far from settled. Some say that the success or failure of a $267 million computer system called the Hub, central to Obamacare, will likewise determine the success or failure of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a whole.
According to a Bloomberg report, the system links databases from seven federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service and the Peace Corps, to establish who is eligible to purchase health insurance and who can have their coverage subsidized.
Medicare administrator Marilyn Tavenner will oversee the hub, and expects system construction and testing to be complete by September 1 -- one month before government-run health insurance exchanges open for business. Officials have indicated that all parties using the hub must adhere to strict rules and standards to ensure proper security.
“We have been engaged in a great deal of discussions to make sure these standards are incredibly strong,” said Chiquita Brooks-Lasure, deputy director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
But not everyone is convinced. Some lawmakers feel the system's size and contents will make it a target for hackers. Others warn that the government may misuse the information.
In prepared comments before a congressional hearing on July 16, Tavenner defended the system, citing a "robust security monitoring system that reviews all security events, tools, requirements, and network device logs to identify, assess, and manage vulnerabilities and threats.”
The Congressional Budget Office expects roughly seven million Americans to seek coverage through the exchanges.