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House OKs rules to limit security breaches
WASHINGTON – House lawmakers on Friday approved a proposal to address potential security breaches on the HealthCare.gov website as Republicans seek to keep attention on problems associated with the rollout of the federal health care law.
On a vote of 291 to 122, more than five dozen Democrats joined with all voting Republicans to approve a measure that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to notify affected users of any potential breach on a state or federal exchange within two business days.
Republicans’ aides openly boasted Friday about the 67 vulnerable Democrats willing to buck President Barack Obama, who strongly opposed the measure. The White House said the proposal would create “unrealistic and costly paperwork requirements” that wouldn’t improve the safety or security of the site’s users.
– Associated Press

New firm to handle HealthCare.gov

– The Obama administration has decided to jettison from HealthCare.gov the IT contractor, CGI Federal, that has been mainly responsible for building the defect-ridden online health insurance marketplace and has been immersed in the work of repairing it.

Federal health officials are preparing to sign early next week a 12-month contract worth roughly $90 million with a different company, Accenture, after concluding that CGI has not been effective enough in fixing the intricate computer system underpinning the federal website, according to a person familiar with the decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private negotiations.

Accenture, one of the world’s largest consulting firms, has extensive experience with computer systems on the state level and built California’s large new health-insurance exchange. But it has not done substantial work on any Health and Human Services Department program.

The administration’s decision to end the contract with CGI reflects lingering unease over the performance of HealthCare.gov even as officials have touted recent improvements and the rising numbers of Americans who have used the marketplace to sign up for health coverage that took effect Jan. 1.

The government is able to sever its relationship with CGI readily because the company’s contract to work on the exchange is to run out at the end of February.

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