Thursday, August 27, 2009

CBS Raises Questions on Health Care "Reform" Bill H.R. 3200

Even the mainstream media seems to have started to read the health care "reform" bill H.R. 3200 and started asking some relevant questions.

Democratic Health Care Bill Divulges IRS Tax Data
(Declan McCullagh, 8/26/09 CBS News)

"One of the problems with any proposed law that's over 1,000 pages long and constantly changing is that much deviltry can lie in the details. Take the Democrats' proposal to rewrite health care policy, better known as H.R. 3200 or by opponents as "Obamacare." (Here's our CBS News television coverage.) "

After that preamble, the article goes on to actually list specific sections of the bill H.R. 3200 and discuss potential problems: [emphasis is mine]

"Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and "other information as is prescribed by" regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for "affordability credits."

[And remember, this Health Choices Commissioner is to be appointed by the President, and accountable only to the President. No confirmation by Congress is required, ever.]

"Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details -- there's no specified limit on what's available or unavailable -- to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify "affordability credits."

"Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a "low-income prescription drug subsidy" but has not applied for it. "

Whether they want to apply for it or not.

"Over at the Institute for Policy Innovation (a free-market think tank and presumably no fan of Obamacare), Tom Giovanetti argues that: "How many thousands of federal employees will have access to your records? The privacy of your health records will be only as good as the most nosy, most dishonest and most malcontented federal employee.... So say good-bye to privacy from the federal government. It was fun while it lasted for 233 years."

"I'm not as certain as Giovanetti that this represents privacy's Armageddon. (Though I do wonder where the usual suspects like the Electronic Privacy Information Center are. Presumably inserting limits on information that can be disclosed -- and adding strict penalties on misuse of the information kept on file about hundreds of millions of Americans -- is at least as important as fretting about Facebook's privacy policy in Canada.)

"A better candidate for a future privacy crisis is the so-called stimulus bill enacted with limited debate early this year. It mandated the "utilization of an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014," but included only limited privacy protections."


A very important component of the so-called health care "reform" by the administration is already SIGNED INTO LAW, because it was buried in the so-called "stimulus" (so far all it has stimulated is government, local, state and federal) bill that no one read (and the Democratic Congressman of my area actually expressed pride in not having read it - that would be so below him). In other words, the administration/Democrats can make any concession to please Republicans and skeptical Democrats regarding the privacy issue in the health care bill, and the concession is basically irrelevant.

The opponents of this bill and the health care "reform" as presented by this administration and Democratic Congress should start thinking about ways, if any, to repeal this part of the stimulus bill. (I will discuss the particular segment of the stimulus bill that is related to health care in a later, separate post.)

The writer concludes:

"If we're going to have such significant additional government intrusion into our health care system, we will have to draw the privacy line somewhere. Maybe the House Democrats' current bill gets it right. Maybe it doesn't. But this vignette should be reason to be skeptical of claims that a massive and complex bill must be enacted as rapidly as its backers would have you believe. "

Well, it's not given that we will have to have such government intrusion. But I am glad to see the mainstream media like CBS News is starting to ask questions, instead of simply being a spokesperson for the government like certain other networks (the one that starts with "N" comes to mind, whose parent company starts with "G").

If you go to the linked site, be sure to check out the comment section. The writer is bombarded with the supporters of the bill and/or the administration's "reform" calling him all sorts of names, but there are opponents to the bill who seem rather surprised that CBS has allowed this article to be published at all.


(Talk about health... Sorry for tardy posting today. There were many topics that I wanted to write about, but I couldn't concentrate enough to write anything while those drummers on the beach (not the beach right nearby but several blocks away) just bonging and bonging, creating low-frequency sound wave that physically pressured my skull and my heart, making me ill. Think twice before you consent to a power-generating wind turbine near you.)


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