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White House, 122 Dems oppose notifying people if security breached in Obamacare

White House, majority of Dems oppose measure to inform people if their private data breached in Obamacare.
White House, majority of Dems oppose measure to inform people if their private data breached in Obamacare.
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Although the House passed a measure requiring the Secretary of Health and Human Services to notify people if security is breached in Obamacare with bipartisan support, 122 Democrats voted against the measure and the White House says it opposes the bill but did not threaten a veto, The Hill reported Friday.

H.R. 3811, also known as the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, passed the House in a 291-122 vote.

Sixty-seven Democrats broke ranks with party leaders and voted to pass the simple, one-line bill that says "the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall provide notice of such breach to each individual" no later than two business days after a security breach on an Obamacare site is discovered.

But Democrat Party leaders claimed it was just a "messaging" vote intended to keep people from signing up for Obamacare.

Under current law, Republicans said, the government is not required to inform people if their data is breached or put at risk. And it appears most Democrats want it that way.

"It may shock some people to learn that there is no legal requirement that the Department of Health and Human Services notify an individual if his or her personal information is breached or improperly accessed through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges," Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Penn., said.

The White House says it already has plans to inform people of data breaches, but a large group of Democrats -- concerned about their chances at the polls next November -- sided with Republicans.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the requirement is critical, citing testimony from Teresa Fryer, the Chief Information Security Officer at CMS, who told Issa's committee the site should not be launched due to security problems.

"The truth is that actual interviews and depositions taken of the highest-ranking people that helped develop this website, both public and private, shows there was no end-to-end testing," Issa said. "It did not meet the spirit of any definition of a secure website."

But Democrats disagreed and claimed there had been no malicious attacks against the federal site.

The White House also expressed a new-found concern over cost, citing the reporting requirements the bill would create.

"The administration opposes House passage of H.R. 3811 because it would create unrealistic and costly paperwork requirements that do not improve the safety or security of personally-identifiable information in the Health Insurance Marketplaces," the administration said in a statement. "Unlike existing requirements, H.R. 3811 requires expensive and unnecessary notification for the compromise of publicly-available information, even if there is no reasonable risk that information could be used to cause harm."

Democrats like New Jersey's Frank Pallone, believe the bill is a "scare tactic," but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the bill simply requires people be informed.

"That's it," he said. "There's no message in there, this is just trying to help people."

The Hill said Senate Democrats are unlikely to consider the bill.

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