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Comment: Re:Time for medicare for all in the usa (Score 2) 153

by ColdWetDog (#47705337) Attached to: Why Chinese Hackers Would Want US Hospital Patient Data

Ah, no. It has helped. Somewhat. Mostly it's shuffled the deck a bit. Still a whole bunch of people with essentially no way to pay for healthcare. The ACA was never designed to completely solve the problem, only improve it. And improve it a bit it has, with quite a bit of collateral damage.

The really sad part about the ACA is that the big winners were the insurance companies. They had to suck up and drop the pre existing conditions clause and had to allow for children to stay on their parent's insurance until age 26, but they got 5 years of near uncontrolled price increases and lots and lots of paybacks from the feds.

Score: US citizens 1, US Government 0, Insurance Industry 10, Big Pharma 4.

Oh, and the lawyers, they always seem to win extra points all the time.....

Comment: I'm not so sure.... (Score 5, Insightful) 153

by ColdWetDog (#47703103) Attached to: Why Chinese Hackers Would Want US Hospital Patient Data

The thesis is that you can waltz into a doctor's office AND a hospital with faked records and get the treatment needed. Basically the important bit is the insurance info - what has happened to "you" is less important than what you want to eventually happen to you (in the example given, a heart transplant).

I kinda doubt this, at least in a general sense. First off, you can show all the insurance cards and 'insurance info' to the medical provider all you want. The provider is going to query the insurance company before doing anything expensive. Fine, you say, call them all you want, the 'patient' is insured (it's just not the right patient). Now comes the hard part. The minute that the insurance company starts getting claims from both Peoria and Trenton, NJ flags are going to go up. Other old records would be sought (for something big like a transplant or joint replacement) which would likely not match.

Anything remotely resembling a heart transplant is going to fall apart unless both the real and fake patient have nearly identical physiques, ages and problems. More routine issues could go undetected for a while but persistent discrepancies would show up and as soon as the insurance company flagged the claim as problematic, big ticket items would be placed on hold until things go cleared up. When I worked in an early Medicaid HMO in the 1980's we had some problems with folks 'sharing' the Medicaid ID card (no picture, just a printout basically). It was pretty obvious when the patient's weight varied 30 pounds every other week. We soon insisted on photo ID.

And, in fact, the feds also insist on photo ID these days. Yes, if you're bleeding out we don't ask for it up front but as soon as your blood pressure normalizes we're poking around to figure out just who you are.

So it's possible that that full on medical records might be of value, but it's going to be much harder to monetize than a credit card number and likely would be of limited use. That doesn't mean that the information shouldn't be sealed up, of course. I'm just not sure how big a deal this is. And, in the case of the Community breach, they apparently did not get that information anyway.

Comment: Re:Highly sophisticated malware used to attack sys (Score 1) 108

by ColdWetDog (#47700759) Attached to: Hackers Steal Data Of 4.5 Million US Hospital Patients

"..ICE patterns formed and reformed on the screen as he probed for gaps, skirted the most obvious traps, and mapped the route he'd take through Sense/Net's ICE. It was good ICE. Wonderful ICE... ...His program had reached the fifth gate. He watched as his icebreaker strobed and shifted in front of him, only faintly aware of his hands playing across the deck, making minor adjustments. Translucent planes of color shuffled like a trick deck. Take a card, he thought, any card.

The gate blurred past. He laughed. The Sense/Net ice had accepted his entry as a routine transfer from the consortium's Los Angeles complex. He was inside. Behind him, viral subprograms peeled off, meshing with the gate's code fabric, ready to deflect the real Los Angeles data when it arrived."

William Gibson

Comment: Re:why internet connected? (Score 1) 108

by ColdWetDog (#47700747) Attached to: Hackers Steal Data Of 4.5 Million US Hospital Patients

This is most likely billing info. Until healthcare is free, you're going to have billing info. No way around it. The clinical info isn't really useful to your common crook - hard to make a buck out of knowing who has herpes since the pharmaceutical companies have already gleaned that information by paying your local pharmacist to tell them (legal and lucrative).

So, it's the old name, rank and social security number routine.

Comment: Re:why internet connected? (Score 2) 108

by ColdWetDog (#47700737) Attached to: Hackers Steal Data Of 4.5 Million US Hospital Patients

What were such systems doing connected to the public internet?

You reap what you sew. Put a system on the internet that is a big enough target, and it WILL be owned. The safe approach is physical separation coupled with careful local access control to prevent USB-style attacks (though with physical separation it is hard for them to phone home again).

They weren't on the 'public' Internet. They got hacked. Why was this stuff even on the network? Excellent question. The quick answer is that the hospital would like to get paid. So they have to create claims. Claims these days are electronic, little to no paper. The claims have to be sent from the hospital to the insurance companies -- through a network. And that network is .... the Internet.

Yes. hospitals could just go back to point to point dialup but that's not very convenient. They most likely had firewalls and other fancy things to prevent this sort of thing from happening but got caught either mis configuring something or more likely, fooled some witless employee into divulging something they shouldn't have. And before you get all high and mighty about this sort of thing, stop and reflect that the next witless employee might well turn out to be you.

Comment: Re:Labor costs (Score 1) 235

Right now, impressionable youth from 3rd world countries are cheaper than robots. There won't be much worry about this for a while. A rust-bucket Honda and some dumb kid are going to be a lot cheaper than the latest Google-Tesla joint venture product.

We have plenty of time to think about it before Is-lame-oh terrorists are using them.

Except that one limiting factor in the jihad is the ability to get the starry eye idealist soon-to-be-martyr over on this side of the pond. Blowing oneself to tiny bits appears to be a hard sell to westernized folk. The concern here would be that an autonomous vehicle could alleviate that problem.

Of course, it's not a perfect solution. You have to purchase or steal the thing which now are in rather short supply. An autonomous vehicle is going to be fairly tightly regulated once let out into the wild - one of the basic tenets is that it communicates with other vehicles and presumably some sort of central command. Driving into a crowd or a chemical factory might be frowned upon.

Much easier to just blow up a chemical factory somewhere in New Jersey. Or start a forest fire near LA.

But it's the FBI's task to get all paranoid and look at all potential possibilities to ensure our ultimate freedom. USA! USA!

Comment: Re:Insurance rates (Score 2) 235

Insurance is a highly competitive industry. If accident rates go down competition will force rates close to $0.

You perhaps might see collision rates go down but there are many other liabilities that one typically insures a vehicle for - weather related damage, medical, liability and others (usually bundled under the rubric of 'comprehensive').

You are also assuming, without any data, that the future Johnny Cab will never get itself into an accident. I'm not so sure I would make such a bold claim.

A Fortran compiler is the hobgoblin of little minis.