Your Medical Info Now A Matter Of Government Trust Under Obamacare

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A detailed set of guidelines explaining how State and Federal agencies will determine patient eligibility for Obamacare coverage was released late last week, and it authorizes government at all levels to pass around your personal medical information, as well as share it with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The guidelines call for local and Federal agencies to share patients’ sensitive medical information in order to vet anyone signing up for insurance under State-run “health care exchange” networks, ostensibly to determine which kinds of coverage they’re eligible for, and to make sure they’re enrolling at least for minimum coverage.

Since 2003, that kind of information sharing has been something for which hospitals and private insurers have had to show justification and, in certain instances, obtain patients’ permission, under the Title II “Privacy Rule” of HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The new Obamacare guidelines essentially add multiple layers of Federal and State government to the list of entities that can share information.

And, unlike hospitals and insurers have had to do under HIPAA, Obamacare has no provision requiring government agencies to seek your permission before obtaining information about your medical history, lab work, history of insurance coverage and payment for medical bills.

The IRS will also have to have access to this information for the 2013 fiscal year (and beyond), in order to determine whether to penalize you for not enrolling in a coverage program and to enforce Obamacare for those who do participate in coverage through a State-managed exchange network.

That kind of access, particularly in the wake of unresolved scandals revealing a little of the IRS’s proclivity to corrupt manipulation at the hands of politicians in Washington, D.C., troubles a handful of Congressmen convinced that government is too big and too pervasive in Americans’ private lives.

Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner noted Monday that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has promised the government will only use patients’ personal information to help assess which Obamacare coverage is right for new applicants. But that’s a matter of faith, not law. And these days, everyone trusts the disgraced and discredited Federal government, don’t they?

The new ruling surprised some congressional critics. “This sounds as if HHS will have access to protected health info to me,” said one top Hill aide worried about how well the administration will protect that information.

Conservative groups like Americans for Tax Reform have raised questions about the release of PHI [Personal Health Information] in the aftermath of the IRS scandal.

Look closer at how HHS justifies its mandatory (under Obamacare) intrusion into patients’ privacy, and you’ll find the same smug, condescending paternalism, cloaked in the sort of Kafkaesque jargon liberals employ to conceal from their constituents the fact that they’re no smarter than anyone else, that defines the character of the Administration of President Barack Obama.

Essentially, HHS has the right to dip into your data because A) it’s the law, now; B) it’s the only way the government can become a player in the information cycle that, until now, has worked just fine without the government; and C) you’re accepting the devil’s bargain assistance of a government program (Obamacare), so you have to let us know you’re holding up your end of the generous bargain that’s been forced upon you by the Feds. (Now you know what it feels like to be a U.S. State.)

“The exchange would submit specific identifying information to HHS and HHS would verify applicant information with information from the federal and state agencies or programs that provide eligibility and enrollment information regarding minimum essential coverage. Such agencies or programs may include but are not limited to Veterans Health Administration, TRICARE, and Medicare,” said the new rule, which HHS is seeking public comment on.

“HHS will work with the appropriate federal and state agencies to complete the appropriate computer matching agreements, data use agreements, and information exchange agreements which will comply with all appropriate federal privacy and security laws and regulations. The information obtained from federal and state agencies will be used and re-disclosed by HHS as part of the eligibility determination and information verification process,” added the rule.

Explaining the PHI release ruling, HHS said Obamacare “is a government program providing public benefits, is expressly authorized to disclose PHI…that relates to eligibility for or enrollment in the health plan to HHS for verification of applicant eligibility for minimum essential coverage as part of the eligibility determination process for advance payments of the premium tax credit or cost-sharing reductions.”

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • Vigilant

    Since I retired in 2006 I have not been to a doctor.

    This satisfies two of my goals in life: (1) to keep my medical information away from prying eyes, and (2) to extend my life span.

    I came to the conclusion years ago that useful life span is directly proportional to the extent to which doctors are avoided.

    • momo

      Vig, I was once told by a former boss of mine, there are three kinds of people you want to avoid in life, lawyers, doctors and priests.

      • Bill

        Momo,
        And to add to your advice, always remember that preachers, weathermen and economists speak with authority but really don’t know what they are talking about and are just making a lot of stuff up

    • WTS/JAY

      Love it!!!

  • agbjr

    Take all precautions to maintain good health; do everything in moderation; maintain a healthy diet; stay away from doctors and their prescriptions; and maybe – hopefully – you’ll out-live these Marxist sonsofbitches to help reestablish OUR Republic.

    • Bill

      Good Advice. Obamacare, is taking a flawed system of health that offers drugs for symptoms and making it even more lethal. Do not depend on them for your health. Read some of Bob’s articles on alternative health and start taking control of your life.

  • skippy

    With a bad back…I got some good news yesterday while at the chiropractor..
    The dear Obamacare is probably going to put him out of business in 2 or 3 years. And OBcare will put me on “pain management”…gee, I have so much to look forward to. Thanks all you butts that voted that creep in office – BOTH times. Hope you like what YOU get…’cause I sure as hell don’t like what I get.

    • anonymous

      they got obama phones

  • JRR

    My husband and I both have a problem with kidney stones. Because we suspect that we will not be able to get treatment for this extremely painful condition here in the U.S., we are being forced to move to another country where world class medical care costs about 1/10th to 1/3rd what it costs here, and care is not rationed.

    Thank you, all you lazy/ignorant/evil slugs who voted for Obama, for running us out of our own country. May you be denied critical medical care in the future.

  • bwg

    What about the panel of bureaucrats, not Dr.’s that will decide weather you will get the treatment you need. That is in this bill also. You can bet your life that if you are a older man or woman and need a life saving operation, you will not get it.

  • pondtainter

    I learned something interesting last week … EPIC is the electronic medical charting system used by many hospitals. in EPIC, literally *everything* is documented in there (meds, health history, vaccination history, insurance information, mental health/suicidal/homicidal risk, etc). the person who created EPIC is an OBAMA CAMPAIGN DONOR. so in my view, the hospitals are jumping thru all the hoops the government puts in place (rules/regs) so they can be reimbursed for all the non-paying patients & in return they can tell the hospitals ‘thou shall convert to EPIC’ because it will “make it easier for the various providers to access patient information”, “continuity of care”, or some similar blather (what was wrong with a telephone & a fax machine??). it’ll also be easier for IRS to do their “job” if all they have to do is access one system to get what they need, too. and we were blessed with EPIC around 2009 or so. impeccable timing, if I do say so myself.