Obamacare HHS rule would give government everybody’s health records

Rep. Tim Huelskamp
OpEd Contributor
Washington Examiner
9/23/2011

It’s been said a thousand times: Congress had to pass President Obama’s  health care law in order to find out what’s in it. But, despite the repetitiveness, the level of shock from each new discovery never seems to recede.

This time, America is learning about the federal government’s plan to collect and aggregate confidential patient records for every one of us.

In a proposed rule from Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the federal government is demanding insurance companies submit detailed health care information about their patients.

(See Proposed Rule:  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Standards Related to Reinsurance, Risk Corridors and Risk Adjustment, Volume 76, page 41930. Proposed rule docket ID is HHS-OS-2011-0022 http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-07-15/pdf/2011-17609.pdf)

The HHS has proposed the federal government pursue one of three paths to obtain this sensitive information: A “centralized approach” wherein insurers’ data go directly to Washington; an “intermediate state-level approach” in which insurers give the information to the 50 states; or a “distributed approach” in which health insurance companies crunch the numbers according to federal bureaucrat edict.

It’s par for the course with the federal government, but abstract terms are used to distract from the real objectives of this idea: no matter which “option” is chosen, government bureaucrats would have access to the health records of every American – including you…

…What happens to the federal government if it loses a laptop full of patient data or business information? What recourse do individual citizens have against an inept bureaucrat who leaves the computer unlocked? Imagine a Wikileaks-sized disclosure of every Americans’ health histories. The results could be devastating – embarrassing – even Orwellian.

With its extensive rule-making decrees, ObamaCare has been an exercise in creating authority out of thin air at the expense of individuals’ rights, freedoms, and liberties.

The ability of the federal government to spy on, review, and approve individuals’ private patient-doctor interactions is an excessive power-grab…

The complete article is at the Washington Examiner.

RelatedThe untold story of the CLASS Act: How concerns were ignored to ensure its passage

Administration officials knew before they even passed the CLASS Act that the voluntary long-term care insurance program it created would be fiscally unsustainable, a new report from select House and Senate Republicans shows.

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program, or CLASS, became law in March 2010 as a part of Obamacare. Since PPACA passed, CLASS has drawn extensive criticism, with Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad, for example, calling it “a Ponzi scheme of the first order” and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conceding the program is “completely unsustainable” — but the new GOP report shows that HHS officials warned for months even before passage that the CLASS Act would be a fiscal disaster. The administration blatantly ignored those warnings and continued to brazenly count CLASS as a cost-saving measure within Obamacare…

As a result of this investigation, it is now clear that some officials inside HHS warned for months before passage that the CLASS program would be a fiscal disaster. Within HHS the program was repeatedly referred to as a “recipe for disaster” with “terminal problems.” [The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] chief actuary stated on numerous occasions that the program was not fiscally sustainable and would result in what he referred to as an “insurance death spiral.”

…“This report is further confirmation that the Obama Administration willfully chose to ignore the fiscal insolvency of the CLASS program in order to achieve a political victory by pushing the president’s health care bill through Congress,” Thune said. “The CLASS Act is a ticking time bomb that will place taxpayers’ money at risk due to fatal flaws in the entitlement program’s design and structure. The American people had a right to know the information revealed in our report before they were put on the hook to pay for this massive new entitlement program.”…

Read the whole thing!

Update: HHS admitted Obamacare was “recipe For disaster”

CLASS is supposed to provide long-term care insurance, including nursing home payments and in-home nursing care. Benefits are supposed to be funded with contributors’ premiums and not taxpayer money. However, under the current structure, it would need more enrollees (234 million) than the entire American workforce. Internal communications released this week indicate CLASS would essentially require federal subsidies or a mandate forcing all workers to pay into the government’s new program.

According to newly released documents, President Barack Obama’s underlings — including his Vice President — and Democrat leaders in both houses of Congress knew that Obamacare would become a fiscally unsustainable entitlement program, but they pushed for it’s passage anyway.
In yet another scandal brewing within the Washington Beltway, a new federal probe reveals the administration withheld crucial information from Congress about a new health care entitlement program that was destined for fiscal trouble…
…Assuming that after the 2012 elections there’ll be a Republican president and Congress, despite pledges to repeal ObamaCare, we’ll find much of it welded into our spines. The mandate issue is focused upon because it raises libertarian hackles and because it seems the only promising course in the courts. However, even judicially excising mandates may not uproot Obamacare, if found severable despite the ObamaCare bill not including a severability clause. Also, by then, if there is a then at the Supreme Court, many portions of ObamaCare will be so far along, and many aspects of current healthcare so changed,  as to be irremovable…

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