Sunset News: Healthcare reform bill = loss of privacy

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Healthcare reform bill = loss of privacy

Healthcare reform bill = loss of privacy
Jim Brown - OneNewsNow - 8/28/2009 7:00:00 AM
A free-market think tank is warning that the House healthcare bill could potentially give thousands of federal employees access to citizens' financial records.

The House healthcare bill, H.R. 3200, expressly gives the new Health Choices Commissioner the right to look at an individual's tax return to determine what medical benefits or subsidies that person qualifies for. Section 431 of the bill allows the new commissioner to view individuals' filing status, adjusted gross income, number of dependents, and tax credits taken.

Tom Giovanetti with the Institute for Policy Innovation says there are egregious violations of privacy in the draft legislation.

"A lot of people who are concerned about privacy, they're concerned about privacy from corporations. They're worried about things like browser cookies....And our point here is that what we really ought to be concerned about is privacy from government," he suggests. "Hewlett Packard can't knock my door in, handcuff me, and carry my child away; but the federal government can do that. It does have that kind of power."

Giovanetti calls it a "top-down, government-knows-all approach."

"So, it's for the government to decide who qualifies for what and who needs what assistance. So to make those decisions, they've got to find out all sorts of details about your finances," he points out. "There's another provision in the bill that gives them the right to look at your Social Security records. They'll be able to look and see what your Social Security benefits are. They'll be able to look and see how much you've paid in."

According to Giovanetti, a companion bill in the Senate leaves open the possibility that the new government Health Choices Commission would have the ability to look into a person's bank accounts to view the account balance at the time of medical service to determine whether he or she has the ability to

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