Testing complete for controversial ACA data hub

The long-awaited, controversial data hub that stands as the most important piece of technology in the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act is finally ready, according to federal health officials.

The hub will be used to help determine who will qualify for government subsidies when purchasing individual health insurance plans.

"After over two years of work, [the hub] is built and ready for operation, and we have completed security testing and certification to operate," Todd Park (pictured), U.S. chief technology officer, said, according to the Washington Post. "This is an important step in being ready for open enrollment on Oct. 1."

According to the Post, officials said they managed to finish testing for the hub last Friday, calling it a "major turning point."

The news comes just over a month after a report published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General stated that security testing for the data hub was behind schedule.  

Legislation introduced in July by Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) called for a one-year delay in the launch of the hub. Meehan, in a statement about the legislation (H.R. 2837), said the abuse and theft potential for information stored in the hub is "unprecedented."

On Wednesday, Meehan led a hearing before a House homeland security committee that focused, once again, on the hub's potential security shortcomings.

In a letter sent to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in June, 16 Republican lawmakers raised concerns about the hub, saying that "it remains unclear whether it will be operable and able to protect sensitive health and taxpayer information."

In August, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, asked the Government Accountability Office to review security and privacy features of the data hub for the new health insurance exchanges.

To learn more:
- read the article from the Washington Post

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