House passes Obamacare website security bill
January 10th, 2014
12:38 PM ET
9 months ago

House passes Obamacare website security bill

Washington (CNN) - New year, same focus. The Republican led House of Representatives, in its first major action of the 2014 session, voted on another bill aimed at Obamacare – this one meant to fix what the GOP views as a serious security problem with the new health care website.

The House Friday passed a bill 291-122 to require the Administration to notify within two days anyone impacted by a security breach on HealthCare.gov, the website where Americans can enroll for insurance coverage.

All House GOP members backed the measure and 67 Democrats crossed the aisle and voted for the bill.

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Michigan, pointed to the revelation on Friday morning that 70 million people were hit by a data breach at Target, a top retail store. Upton said his committee heard from senior officials at the Department of Health and Human Service who "expressed serious concerns" about the security of the heath care website before they rolled it out in October.

Democrats countered that those concerns have been addressed, and the GOP bill wasn't a serious effort to fix the law, but a move to discourage people from using the website to get health insurance.

"This is purely a message bill, that's all we do these days," California Democratic Rep Henry Waxman said, "this message is one that is designed to mislead."

Republicans said protecting American's personal information was one issue that should get bipartisan support, and the bill simply requires the Administration to own up to any security problems.

"It shouldn't take an act of Congress for the White House to provide that information, but the lack of transparency surrounding the security of the Obamacare website has proven that's the case," House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement after the vote.

Aaron Albright, spokesman for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS,) told CNN, "to date, there have been no successful security attacks on Healthcare.gov and no person or group has maliciously accessed personally identifiable information from the site. Security testing is conducted on an ongoing basis using industry best practices to appropriately safeguard consumers' personal information."

But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, noted that an outside credit agency warned the website was vulnerable and asked, "why do we wait until there is a data breach?"

New York Democratic Rep Joe Crowley argued the GOP had become "the shutdown party," citing last fall's government shutdown and arguing this latest Obamacare vote – one of over 40 in this session of Congress – was an attempt to shutdown the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

In a tweak to the scandal involving Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and the deliberate shutdown of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge, Crowley said, "heck they're even shutting down bridges in New Jersey."

The Obama Administration opposed the bill, and put out a statement on Thursday saying it would impose new burdens on the agencies charged with implementing the new health care law and potentially impede any investigation of any data breach.


Filed under: House • Obamacare
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Private sector = Target

    January 10, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Amazing how fast they can work when it comes to "bashing" Obama, or ...
    to avoid standing in lines at the airport.

    January 10, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    What difference does it make? Even though a boatload of Democrats voted for this, it's still not going anywhere in Deadbeat Harry's Senate.

    January 10, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    If there is a flaw in it–don't sign, Obama. Tell senate not to pass it.

    January 10, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. independantvter

    Democratic Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada will not even bring it up for vote. i will not sign on until i know we have security. I have already had my id stolen and found out after 1 week. I now 2 years later and still have to watch it after having my credit ruined. i hope anyone which signup will not have to go thru what i have but how long until you find out. you will not ever get it totally cleared or stoped. I still get bills and threats of lawsuits.

    January 10, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Rone

    Any of you CNN fans seen this?

    The State Department on Friday for the first time blamed specific groups and militants for the 2012 Benghazi attack, designating them as terrorists - a move that further undermines initial claims the attack was spontaneous.

    Interesting that this was announced several hours ago and CNN has yet to pick it up. Maybe the Times will run it. lol!

    January 10, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. RWB1956

    In the next couple of weeks or sooner FOX news will have some "honest citizen" on saying their info was stolen after signing up. Which will then be debunked as a lie but you won't hear anything but crickets from the GOP.

    January 10, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    The point here is that, if the House was to enact careful requirements that actually effect the functionality of the ACA and its exchange websites, making them more secure and addressing the supposed problem, then it would actually make people feel more safe and encourage their enrollment.

    This is why such functional substance of a "fix" is absent from this legislation. Instead, the legislation is merely designed to put a scare into people by publicizing and sensationalizing the fear that such breaches in security could occur, thus making people think the websites are more unsafe than they are, etc., and discouraging them from enrolling.

    January 10, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Tony D

    Name sameeker
    Now if they will pass one regarding security for Microsoft, target, banks, and all the other corporations.
    ---

    Are all you lefties completely clueless losers? All they are asking for is for the government website to be held to the same standards as the private sector. The Obama administration has granted itself waivers and in doing so put at risk ALL of the highly personal information entered on that pathetic web site. Are you fools in here claiming you don't care if people get their personal information stolen and exploited? Are you serious?

    January 10, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "What difference does it make? "

    None. This legislation is meaningless drivel that is based on no actual problem and fixes absolutely nothing.

    January 10, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. current state of the union

    Scream and shout, and pass all the bills you like, bridgegate is not going away anytime soon, at least I hope not. Now you get a taste of your own medicine, and Christie never said sorry, why can't any gop say I'm sorry? Hoping they will be humbled some day is unlikely, unable to admit wrong is a Republicans quality I don't care for

    January 10, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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