New Obamacare ruling requires government agencies to share your personal health details

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Obamacare, medical privacy, personal information

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(NaturalNews) The rights-sucking, Nanny State behemoth that is Obamacare is growing larger by the day as Jan. 1, 2014 - the day all of the law's requirements and provisions are set to go into effect - draws closer.

The latest blow to American health freedom came June 14 in the form of a massive 253-page proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. If approved - and there is no reason to expect it won't be - the rule "requires state, federal and local agencies as well as health insurers to swap the protected personal health information of anybody seeking to join the new health care program that will be enforced by the Internal Revenue Service," reports the Washington Examiner.

Protected health information - PHI - is extremely protected under current federal statutes. But this latest HHS rule will negate many of the protections previously built into those statutes by permitting various agencies to essentially pass around your personal health data in order to verify that applicants to the various "health insurance exchanges" established under Obamacare are getting the minimum amount of coverage, as required.

'This sounds as if HHS will have access to protected health info'

The crux of the regulation, which is explained on pages 72-73 of the hundreds-page guidance, doesn't say anything about applicants having to first approve the release of their PHI. In fact, HHS already allows some PHI exchange to take place without your pre-approval, especially when it is needed for a "government program providing public benefits."

"The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of health information needed for patient care and other important purposes," HHS says on its website.

Government officials say the swapping of PHI is merely to ensure Obamacare users get the best insurance coverage.

Staffers and others on Capitol Hill who have been critical of Obamacare and are bracing for the dramatic health premium increases that were not supposed to occur were taken aback by the regulation.

"This sounds as if HHS will have access to protected health info to me," one top Hill aide who is worried about how well the administration will protect that information told the paper's Paul Bedard.

Some conservative groups, such as Americans for Tax Reform, have already begun sounding alarm bells over the virtually unrestricted release of PHI between government agencies at all levels. They are concerned, especially in the wake of the scandal involving the IRS' illicit targeting of such groups. They note that PHI includes everything about a person's medical history - tests, lab results, insurance information, etc. Why would government agencies need to know such information? Could it be that someday, down the road, they will use certain information to deny coverage or claims?

In a poor attempt at credibility, the new rule says the government will, of course, obey privacy laws (unless, of course, the NSA is violating them).

Why all the details?

"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 rule. HHS is currently seeking public comment on it.

"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," it said.

Obamacare's onerous disclosure rules will formally and permanently put an end to your medical privacy - information that is perhaps the most intensely personal of all your private information. Make no mistake, this data is being compiled and will be "shared" with every agency imaginable down the line to use against you at some point in the near future. Again, if that were not the case, why would the government need to know such details?

Sources for this article include:

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