recommended reading

House Passes New Security Requirements for HealthCare.gov

Eric Gay/AP

The House voted by a substantial margin on Friday to impose stringent new security standards on HealthCare.gov.

The vote would require the Health and Human Services Department to notify consumers within two business days if their personal information was hacked on the online health insurance marketplace. It comes following Republican claims that security on the site is more lax than the Obama administration admits and follows numerous earlier votes to repeal or pare back Obamacare.

The vote on the bill was 291 in favor and 122 opposed. Sixty-seven Democrats voted yes.

The bill was introduced on Tuesday by Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., and debated and passed on the House floor three days later. As with previous anti-Obamacare measures, the bill, known as the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, is highly unlikely to pass the Senate and be signed by the president.

The White House slammed the proposed law on Thursday, saying it “would impose an administratively burdensome reporting requirement that is less effective than existing industry standards and those already in place for federal agencies.”

Health and Human Services officials have said HealthCare.gov meets the government’s information security standards and that there have been no successful breaches of people’s personal information on the site to date.

House investigators, led by Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., claim the Obama administration ignored numerous red flags in the rush to meet their Oct. 1 deadline for HealthCare.gov to go live, including a recommendation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Chief Information Security Officer Teresa Fryer that the launch be delayed.

House Democrats claim Fryer’s warnings are taken out of context and the security risks on the website are overblown.

Both sets of claims are based on documents from contractors and government officials that have not been released publicly out of fear they could give hackers a “road map” into HealthCare.gov.

HealthCare.gov was nearly un-usable after its Oct. 1, 2013 launch due to about 400 coding glitches and insufficient storage space. The online marketplace has functioned at an acceptable level since Dec. 1 but analysts worry the early troubles may have made consumers wary of the site and could prevent the government from reaching its enrollment goal of 7 million people by the end of March.

If too few people enroll in the marketplace, that could increase risk and raise premiums to unaffordable levels. Concerns about security risks on the website could further depress enrollment.

Get the Nextgov iPhone app to keep up with government technology news.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.