Weekly Checkup

Weekly Checkup: GAO’s Concern over Delayed Deadlines

Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report detailing the Administration’s decision to push back the final security testing steps for the Affordable Care Act’s state-based insurance exchanges. The security testing in question concerns the “Hub” a system that will allow each state exchange to access data from federal agencies, specifically the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Defense, the Office of Personnel and Management, the Veterans Health Administration and the Peace Corps. The Hub will not store data, but data needs to be able to be transmitted through it securely.

Testing for the Hub was supposed to begin, per a March report, on May 6th and be complete on September 4th. However, these dates were pushed back on at least two occasions, with final testing not scheduled to be complete until September 30th, the day before exchange enrollment is set to open. Table 1 below shows the movement of deadlines from the March 2013 report to current status.
Despite talk from the Administration that the exchanges are on schedule and sure to be ready by October 1, the GAO report calls into question whether this is accurate and whether Americans will really be able to sign up for coverage come October.