Washington (CNN) – The GOP-led House of Representatives will kick off 2014 – a midterm election year – addressing an issue it spent much of last year debating: Obamacare.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced Thursday the House's first order of business when it returns next week from its extended holiday break would be a vote on legislation to address potential security risks for personal information collected on the Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov.
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In a memo to House Republicans, Cantor compared security problems with HealthCare.gov and other state-based online insurance exchanges to the high-profile hacking that Target experienced last month when the retailer admitted millions of shoppers'personal financial information was compromised.
Cantor pointed to a recent report from Experian, a credit rating company, which predicted the health care industry was especially vulnerable to data security breaches in 2014. He also said four House committees held hearings at the end of last year demonstrating that the protections put in place by the Obama administration for HealthCare.gov were not sufficient.
"To date, the Administration has downplayed the risk of a data breach, perhaps in part because their primary goal is signing people up for insurance through the Exchange," Cantor stated in his memo, arguing there is no system in place to notify those who might be affected by a security problems.
Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, panned Cantor's announcement, saying next week’s vote was another GOP effort to undermine the law and “that effort even extends to scaring their constituents from obtaining health coverage. “
“Six million Americans began enjoying the security of health coverage this week, including 2.1 million Americans who have enrolled in a private health insurance plan through health insurance marketplaces,” Hammill said.
Aaron Albright, spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which administers the website, told CNN all personal information entered by those who enrolled in health insurance online is protected.
"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," Albright wrote in a statement. Albright also said the site uses sensor and other security tools to prevent any unauthorized access.
House GOP legislation, according to Cantor, will "strengthen security requirements as well as require prompt notification in the event of a breach involving personal information."
Republicans already planned to make the midterm election a referendum on the President's signature health care law, so the vote next week will be the first among a string of Obamacare-related votes that will likely stretch into the fall. House Speaker John Boehner and other top GOP leaders have made it clear continued oversight of the law and attempts to roll it back would remain a top focus in 2014.
Cantor's memo promised more action would be coming.
"These steps will be part of the overall effort to protect the American people from the harmful effects of Obamacare by ultimately repealing and replacing the law with patient focused reforms that expand access, ensure quality care, and help control costs."