Infringement On Privacy Keeps Popping Up With Obamacare
Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
I suggest those of you who enjoy reading the Federal Register to read the 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”
President Obama’s healthcare reform act is proposing to collect healthcare claims data on all Americans. The federal government already owns the claims data on Medicare and Medicaid recipients.
Now President Obama wants the claims data on all private insured and non-insured consumers. His reason is to stratify risk for the healthcare insurance industry.
Every consumer would pay the same healthcare insurance premium through the state exchanges whether he was a high risk or low risk patient.
If patients incurred high healthcare costs because they were a high-risk patients, the government would subsidize the healthcare insurance company if the cost was greater than the fixed premium.
Presumably the government would subsidize the healthcare insurance company so it would not lose money. It would also tighten the government’s control over the healthcare insurance industry and its profits. These regulations have not been written yet.
What is wrong with that? Consumers are again left out of the loop. An unelected bureaucrat is making our healthcare decisions. If the potential consequences were followed to the end, private insurance and a freedom of choice to have no insurance coverage would be eliminated.
Everyone would be required to have to have healthcare insurance through the state healthcare insurance exchanges. In reality it is a backdoor mandate.
“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.”
The healthcare insurance industry is being asked to provide proprietary information to government. The healthcare industry claims that providing this information will undermine its competitiveness.
It forces the healthcare insurance industry to become more transparent while the proposal claims to protect the healthcare insurance industry from risk.
“Obama and Sebelius made such a big deal about Americans being able to keep the coverage they have under ObamaCare; with these provisions, such private insurance may cease to exist if insurers are required to divulge their business models.”
There are several obvious dangers of this action. The first danger is from the healthcare insurance industry’s point of view. Another danger is from the healthcare system’s point of view. The third danger is from the consumer’s point of view.
The federal government is not capable of providing the administrative services necessary for healthcare coverage. The government outsources the administrative services for Medicare and Medicaid.
Those administrative service fees are in the 20-30% range to the federal government presently. Those hidden fees are creating unsustainable healthcare costs for the federal government.
If the government tried to lower those fees, the healthcare insurance industry would walk away from the healthcare system. The healthcare system would collapse.
The Federal Register includes three proposals for collecting the claims data on every American.
- 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.
- A “distributed approach” in which health insurance companies crunch the numbers according to federal bureaucrat edict.
“ There are major problems with any one of these three “options.” First is the obvious breach of patient confidentiality. The federal government does not exactly have a stellar track record when it comes to managing private information about its citizens.”
“Why should we trust that the federal government would somehow keep all patient records confidential?”
Each option provides government bureaucrats access to the health records of every American.
President Obama’s trap for consumers is obvious. If a business loses or gives up or sells confidential data a victim can fire or sue a health insurance company. The power of the market can also punish a private sector provider.
If a government bureaucrat losses or gives up your confidential information to another federal agency or other private individuals, the individuals affected could not get the unionized bureaucrat fired even if they could find out who was responsible bureaucrat providing the information.
Imagine a Wikileaks-sized disclosure of every American’s 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.
Providing the federal government the ability to spy on, review, and approve individuals’ private patient-doctor interactions is an abuse of power and a challenge to every American’s liberty Where is the ACLU on this issue?
In an attempt to do the right thing, President Obama and HHS ends up restricting our freedoms, individual rights and liberty.
I hate to be cynical. Perhaps President Obama’s goal is the have centralized control over Americans and restrict our freedoms, individual rights and liberty. .
Obamacare is looking more and more like this is the goal.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.