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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Privacy Issues Of Obamacare

CBS News reports another startling detail of H.R. 3200, better known as Obamacare.

Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and "other information as is prescribed by" regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for "affordability credits."

Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details -- there's no specified limit on what's available or unavailable -- to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify "affordability credits."

Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a "low-income prescription drug subsidy" but has not applied for it.

Over at the Institute for Policy Innovation (a free-market think tank and presumably no fan of Obamacare), Tom Giovanetti argues that: "How many thousands of federal employees will have access to your records? The privacy of your health records will be only as good as the most nosy, most dishonest and most malcontented federal employee.... So say good-bye to privacy from the federal government. It was fun while it lasted for 233 years."

They updated their piece with comment from Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, after wondering in their article where the Electronic Privacy Information Center stood on the issue of section 431(a) of the Obamacare bill:

"We would oppose section 431(a) of the bill because it violates the intent of the Privacy Act which generally requires agencies to obtain information directly from individuals and not from other agencies."

Since the bills didn't get jammed through before Congress went on their august vacations as Obama insisted, it seems folks are getting a chance to actually read the bill and find these tidbits that would have made it through without our knowledge.