A new 253-page Obamacare rule issued late Friday 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.
Protected health information, or PHI, is highly protected under federal law, but the latest ruling from the Department of Health and Human Services allows agencies to trade the information to verify that Obamacare applicants are getting the minimum amount of health insurance coverage they need from the health “exchanges.”
The ruling, explained on pages 72-73 of the book-thick guidance, does not mention any requirement that applicants first OK the release of their PHI. HHS already allows some exchange of PHI without an individual’s pre-approval, especially when for a “government program providing public benefits.” Officials said the swapping of information is simply meant to help figure the best insurance coverge of Obamacare users.
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 including Americans for Tax Reform have raised questions about the release of PHI in the aftermath of the IRS scandal. PHI includes an individual’s medical history, test and laboratory results, insurance information and other data.
Breitbart.com on the same story notes rules issued in January claim “increased protection and control of personal healther information” for the public, but it appears from the rule issued on Friday that the government may access individuals’ PHI and freely exchange it among agencies, since the ObamaCare exchanges are all government programs.
Further to the point, “Though millions of Americans sign forms in their doctors’ offices which claim their personal health information is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a new ObamaCare rule requires federal and local agencies and health insurers to trade the personal health data of any person interested in signing up for the new state exchanges.”
As the IRS is the enforcement agency for Obamacare, Tulsa Today suggests that targeting of political opponents could happen at any time – any new rule would do – just raise the heat slowly while the frog of individual liberty and freedom boils.