It was a very special trick-or-treat surprise for “red herring” Justin Hadley of North Carolina when Blue Cross / Blue Shield killed his insurance policy and exiled him to the train-wreck ObamaCare exchanges. (“Red herring” is the Democrat Party’s official classification for the over 3.5 million Americans who have lost their insurance due to the Affordable Care Act.)
Hadley managed to get past the swarm of bugs and log into HealthCare.gov… only to find personal information about other people presented to him by Barack Obama’s ultra-secure $500 million website. They weren’t even from the same Carolina. Presumably in some deep cave of ObamaCare’s stone-age software, “North” and “South” Carolina are interchangeable. Close enough for government work, right?
What IdentityTheft.gov handed over to Hadley were application letters for coverage from other people, which included their personal information. In addition to notifying the Department of Whatever and Human Services, he also contacted one of the people in question, South Carolina lawyer Thomas Dougall. The Heritage Foundation picks up the story from there:
Hadley reached out to Dougall on Friday to notify him of the breach. Dougall, who spoke to Heritage this evening, said he was evaluating health care options in early October. Dougall said he was able to register on HealthCare.gov, but decided not to sign up for insurance.
???The plans they offered were grossly expensive and didn???t provide the level of care I have now,??? he said.
Dougall said he never saw the October 8 letter until Hadley sent it to him Friday.
After learning of the privacy breach, Dougall spent Friday evening trying to contact representatives from HealthCare.gov to no avail; he spent an hour waiting on the telephone and an online chat session was unhelpful. He also wrote to Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tim Scott (R-SC), along with Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC).
???I want my personal information off of that website,??? Dougall said.
Something tells me Joe Wilson is going to perk right up when he gets that letter.
In an interview with local news, Dougall said he initially thought the helpful Mr. Hadley was some kind of scam artist, remaining skeptical until Hadley showed him screen captures from HealthCare.gov. ObamaCare is really bringing Americans together, isn’t it?
He’s understandably frustrated about the complete lack of procedures to handle such a security breach, and the general non-responsiveness of Health and Human Services. The reporters didn’t get much farther, although the bureaucracy at least did them the courtesy of pulling the tab on a canned email that said, “We are aware of this issue and it is on our punch list of fixes, scheduled to be addressed in the very near future.”
John Sexton at Breitbart News got a few more thoughts from Mr. Dougall during an email exchange:
This morning I exchanged emails with Dougall and asked him if he had heard anything more from HHS. He replied “I have not heard anything from HHS other than their reply to the local affiliate that I should use the on line chat room or the toll free number. The person on the chat line refused to accept my contact information and told me I had to contact the FTC to report the problem. I was on hold for almost an hour on the phone and gave that up.”
The situation not only has Dougall wanting to remove his private information from the site, but his daughter as well. “My adult daughter wants her information removed. Somebody on the phone told her they would have somebody call her. To my knowledge nobody has returned her call.”
Finally, I asked Dougall if he had any advice for others who were considering placing their information on the site. He replied “The only advice I have is that people should know up front that if they apply their information may not be secure.“
This is very disappointing, because when HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited Tennessee on Friday, Republican state senator Brian Kelsey presented her with a copy of “Websites for Dummies.” She really should have finished reading it by now.
As Heritage goes on to note, the massive security vulnerabilities in HealthCare.gov are yet another thing HHS knew about, but ignored in their reckless haste to dive on the plunger and detonate ObamaCare. It leaves poor Justin Hadley high and dry. He can’t use the online exchange because his personal information is mixed up with Dougall’s. And if he wants his old policy back – you know, the one Barack Obama loudly and repeatedly swore he would never lose – he’ll have to pay a 92 percent premium increase.