Despite assurances from the Department of Health and Human Services that Healthcare.gov is secure, Committee on Oversight & Government Reform Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calf.) said Thursday that we “must assume that website is still vulnerable and Americans may have [personally identifiable information] hacked and taken.”

In response, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the committee, said that since the Republicans have been unsuccessful in their efforts to repeal the law, they are instead trying to “scare people away from Healthcare.gov,” and it is important to “highlight all the fixes, rather than cherry picking to put out a political narrative that is inaccurate.”

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have repeatedly said that the website is secure and while “no security professional will ever guarantee any system is hack proof, I am [sure] the FFM is secure,” said Teresa Fryer, CMS’ chief information security officer in response to questions at the hearing.

Testimony focused on a memo that Fryer drafted on Sept. 24, 2013, in which she wrote she did not have confidence that personal information would be protected in the federal marketplace. The memo was not released to the media.

Fryer said the memo was never presented to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner because it was “overcome by events,” which she refused to elaborate on. Tavenner provided the authority to operate Healthcare.gov on Sept. 27, 2013, the committee said.

Brian Kalish is a reporter for HIX-Health Insurance Exchange, a SourceMedia publication.

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