Farewell, Personal and Medical Privacy; ObamaTax Is Here
Though the liberal media mocked conservatives a couple of years ago, ridiculing their concern that the IRS would be overseeing Americans’ healthcare, the truth is the Obama administration had always planned to hire at least 4,500 new IRS agents, to the tune of nearly $304 million, to make sure those Americans who failed to comply with the law’s mandate to purchase insurance--Nancy Pelosi would now call them “free riders”--would pay their…er…tax.
Liz MacDonald of Fox Business tells us that, with ObamaTax now being the law of the land, the IRS will, indeed, be a more intrusive presence in our private lives. MacDonald says that the new army of IRS agents will now be charged with determining not only the income of the primary earner(s) of your household, but also your entire family’s income in order to assess and collect the mandated tax. Once the IRS makes its “discovery,” it can then share your information with other government agencies. “We expect even more lien and levy powers,” one IRS official tells MacDonald.
The Taxpayer Advocate Office (TAO), which oversees the nation’s tax collection agency, notes that the following health care information will be required from the IRS from now on, if ObamaTax is not repealed:
- Health insurance plan information, those covered under the plan and the dates of their coverage;
- The costs of your family’s health insurance plans;
- Whether a family member was offered employer-sponsored health insurance;
- Whether a taxpayer received a tax credit for a health insurance premium;
- Whether a taxpayer received a waiver from the individual mandate responsibility.
In addition to the private information “required” to determine whether “adequate” health insurance has been purchased by all members of a household, the government will be collecting private medical and health information about us. The experience of our information being shared may start out on a more local level, however.
Last week, for example, the Boston Globe published a story about “Julie,” a 43 year-old lawyer who received psychiatric treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, in the state that has a health care system that is “similar” to President Obama’s national health reform plan. Julie was treated for a combination of emotional issues, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder related to child sexual abuse. Summaries of her weekly therapy sessions were typed into her computerized medical record that became available to every provider in the expansive group system in her state, the type of health care practices that many providers are joining across the country as a result of ObamaTax.
Apparently, though Julie signed the HIPAA privacy notice, she eventually objected to the fact that her personal information, which she thought should only be shared with her psychiatrist, was being viewed by many other providers, as well as by the managing and operating staff of the large health care group. The health care provider group countered Julie’s objection, citing that psychiatric problems are just like any other medical problem, and that their group needed to know about all her problems if they were to treat her effectively.
Indeed, according to Dr. David Blumenthal, the chief health information officer for Julie’s health care provider group--and, by the way, the former national coordinator for health information technology for the Obama administration--the privacy issues “are huge.” Citing patient trust as a monkey wrench in the machinery of these new health information systems, Blumenthal says, “It’s one thing to give your psychiatrist the right to share your information [with certain doctors], it’s another to enter your data into a system that makes it available with relative ease to an unknown number of physicians who may be involved in your care.”
Consider how easily we are expected to “surrender” our trust in a personal doctor-patient relationship to make way for the ObamaTax health information systems, as if that is the way it is supposed to be. Our expectation of a doctor-patient “trust” is something to be “remedied,” as if it were the disease itself for which we need treatment.
In Julie’s health care provider group, she can “request” that her psychiatric notes be “restricted,” but it is up to the health group to “evaluate” her request, to determine if it is warranted. So, the limits of Julie’s privacy, even with regard to her medical treatment, were no longer under her control in the new model health care provider group. Deciding that she wanted to regain control of her privacy, Julie sought, and obtained, the services of a private therapist, who would not enter notes into an electronic system.
Good for Julie. Sounds like she has already made significant progress.
But, beyond our new, sprawling health provider groups, where else will our private health information be sent?
Last September, we discovered that, tucked into ObamaTax, is a rule from czar Kathleen Sebelius, now the most powerful person in the country, that states the federal government will demand that insurance companies submit detailed health information about their patients in one of three ways:
- A “centralized” approach in which insurers’ patient data go directly to Washington;
- An “intermediate, state-level” approach in which insurers’ give the information to the 50 states;
- A “distributed” approach in which health-insurance companies compute the numbers themselves and render a report to Washington.
It’s hard to see if privacy of any kind will be permitted at all under ObamaTax. What are our options?
Stating that doctors must lead the charge to protect the trust of the physician-patient relationship, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) plans to move forward with a lawsuit against the Obama administration. AAPS charges that ObamaTax is unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, in that the federal government cannot order one private citizen (a patient) to give money to another private citizen (a health insurance company) under penalty of taxation if the citizen does not do so.
With the lawsuits of both the AAPS, and the religious organizations against the HHS conscience mandate, ObamaTax stands to remain in the courts for awhile yet. Still, there is so much deeply and seriously wrong with this law that it should be repealed by the representatives of the American people.