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House GOP eyes security of health care website

The House will consider legislation next week related to the Affordable Care Act and the security of the new health care website, a top Republican said Thursday. 

The legislation, according to a memo by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, will address the public disclosure of potential security breaches involving HealthCare.Gov.

House Republicans are using the recent hack of Target's credit card machines as a way to garner support for the bill.

"While the Target breach has received well-deserved attention, another report last week also deserves attention," the memo reads, "Experian, the credit report bureau which also has a division that works on data breaches, released a report that stated, 'The healthcare industry, by far, will be the most susceptible to publicly disclosed and widely scrutinized data breaches in 2014.'"

Cantor wrote that he intends to schedule consideration of legislation -- introduced by Reps Diane Black, R-Tenn., Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., and Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla. -- that would require cybersecurity breaches involving Healthcare.gov to be disclosed to the public. 

"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 writes, "It is my intent to schedule legislation on this topic when we return next week."

But a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Devices (CMS), which is responsible for the website, responded to the announced legislation saying that privacy and security on Healthcare.gov is a "top priority," and that users can "trust that the information that they are providing is protected by stringent security standards."

 "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," CMS Spokesman Aaron Albright said in a statement, "Security testing is conducted on an ongoing basis using industry best practices to appropriately safeguard consumers’ personal information."

Cantor also says that in the coming weeks, House Republicans will "continue to address other areas where greater transparency is demanded, including the disclosure of reliable and complete enrollment data."