recommended reading

Republicans to Open 2014 with Obamacare Data Theft Bill

Matt Rourke/AP

House Republicans will start the year with legislation aimed at security requirements for Obamacare's health insurance exchanges.

The House next week will consider legislation that would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to notify consumers whenever a security breach occurs, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced Thursday in a memo to Republicans.

Under present policy, CMS evaluates whether consumer data were at risk when deciding if an issue warrants notification—but Cantor wants to make notification automatic.

"If a breach occurs, it shouldn't be up to some bureaucrat to decide when or even whether to inform an individual that their personal information has been accessed," Cantor said in the memo.

The legislation would address other security concerns, he said, citing Republican Reps Diane Black (Tennessee), Kerry Bentivolio (Michigan), and Gus Bilirakis (Florida) among those who have proposed similar measures.

Security and privacy concerns have been the focus of a handful of hearings on Capitol Hill, where documents revealed that the Health and Human Services Department and contractors involved in the creation ofHealthCare.gov were concerned in the days and weeks leading up to the website's launch.

Ultimately the motion is a part of the House Republican goal to repeal and replace the president's health law.

Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, called Cantor's announcement a partisan game.

"[House Republicans] continue to remain intent on undermining or repealing the Affordable Care Act at every turn, and that effort even extends to scaring their constituents from obtaining health coverage," Hammill said in a press release.

The question of data security on the exchanges is hotly contested. Republicans argue the administration is downplaying concerns to protect the law's standing and encourage enrollment, while Democrats argue the GOP is overstating the problems and crafting legislation to bring more attention to them.

In December, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., released part of a classified Health and Human Services Department briefing that reported only 32 security incidents since Oct. 1, none of which involved a successful theft of any information.

Some 2.1 million Americans signed up for private health insurance on the exchanges in time for Jan. 1 coverage, as long as they paid their premiums. The Obama administration has repeatedly said in Congressional hearings that it does not believe consumer data to be at risk because the data hub used by HealthCare.gov to verify identity and income does not store personal information.

The House returns Tuesday, Jan. 7.

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.