Obamacare plan finally released; Update: Goodbye, 4th Amendment

posted at 10:45 am on June 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

And it’s so large that Patients United Now had to split it into nine different parts, and to put out a bleg for an Army of Patients to scour the bill. The title:Quality Affordable Health Care for All Americans. And the first thing past the title?

[Note: Further revisions are needed to complete the work of integrating provisions into the existing HIPAA structure.]

Maybe they should have finished doing the actual work on the bill before introducing it.  I haven’t had a chance to look at the rest of it, but I’m certain we have plenty of Hot Air readers willing to take caffeine intravenously and put off seeing Star Trek for the 5th time to dig through the bill and find the land mines.  Drop me a line or post a comment with the most troubling references, and we’ll update the post as we go.  In the meantime, watch PUN communications director Amy Menefee discuss the dangers of government-run, single-payer health insurance:

Update: Sorry, that’s not Megyn Kelly.

Update II: It’s worth noting that HIPAA ensures patient privacy, which should be a really big deal if we’re letting the government run everything.  Without knowing how or whether this works with HIPAA, how can Congress even consider this bill?  Speaking of which, on pages 39-40, take a gander at Section 3102, Financial Integrity:

(1) IN GENERAL – A State shall keep an accurate accounting of all activities, receipts, and expenditures of any Gateway operating in such State and annually submit to the Secretary a report concerning such accountings.

(2) INVESTIGATIONS – The Secretary may investigate the affairs of a Gateway, may examine the properties and records of a Gateway, and may require periodical reports in relation to activities undertaken by a Gateway.  A Gateway shall fully cooperate in any investigation conducted under this paragraph.

“Gateway” means “provider,” and this appears to do away with that pesky Fourth Amendment, which normally requires search warrants and probable cause to access the records of individuals and businesses.  Not under ObamaCare!  Now, everyone belongs to the government … rather than the other way around.  George Orwell, call your office!

Update III: Jazz Shaw mainly agrees, but sends a jab to my ribs:

A lot of these voices are the same folks that didn’t seem to think it was any big deal for the government to intercept electronic communications without a warrant, even if one of the participants was a U.S. citizen. They also didn’t care much if the Feds checked out what you were browsing on the computers at the local library or even the books you checked out. In fact, it almost seems as if there’s no problem with such activity so long as it’s a Republican president and he’s doing it in the vague and ambiguous name of the “war on terror.”

He finishes with a Victor Lazlo-esque “Welcome back to the fight” valediction, but in this case, we’re talking apples and oranges.  First, even the NSA program required some sort of probable cause to surveil a communication line, and the FISA court did have some oversight eventually. I won’t dismiss this entirely, though, because it does touch on the same values, but I would also note that the NSA program was intended to catch terrorists, and not doctors who may or may not be billing the government correctly.

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The government gamed the system to force us to buy through employers. Then they started this nonsense that health insurance is some kind of right, like free speech. Then came the Orwellian change in language that health insurance = health care.

My car insurance doesn’t cover oil changes, new tires or checkups.

Sorry but the time and property of doctors, hospitals and nurses are not yours for the taking. There are plenty of people who could EASILY buy catastrophic insurance. Its just much easier to destroy the whole system whining about 100 bucks a month which costs less than your cell phone + internet service.

DavidM on June 7, 2009 at 2:22 PM

For the part that eliminates the private sector, look at pg 27 (in my copy). Section (6) Risk adjustments.

What they are saying is that every providor can only make the amount as specified by the politicians. With the government as a competitor with a mandate to NOT make any money, the best any health care providor can hope for is a break even situation.

Without any chance to actually make money, non-government health care providers will simply disappear from the marketplace. Why keep open a business that can only last until it is finally sued out of existance?

Freddy on June 7, 2009 at 3:33 PM

I’m a little confused. Did you (Ed) determine the “gateway” was the provider, or is the “gateway” the contracting agency for the government to process applications and claims as in Medicare? If it is the latter, the Government is fully justified in imposing the questionable terms, because that will be in their contract (and probably is now). However, If the “gateway” is truly the provider, then I can see your 4th amendment point. Remember, any company that contracts as an agent of the Government is subject to full disclosure and audit.

Old Country Boy on June 7, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Mo free stuff for da bro’s an sista’s!

Cybergeezer on June 7, 2009 at 9:00 PM

Basic problem: Health Insurance is NOT Health Care!! So this entire effort is mis-chartered: we don’t need better Insurance…but some (not “all” or even “most”) people need better Health Care.

Making the government the only payer will destroy both insurance companies and the medical profession. Who would want to work for someone who signs a contract to pay you a certain amount and then says “sorry, we’re short of cash so we’re only going to pay 50% of what we contracted for”?

Medical innovation will be non-existent once the government gets to decide what research is undertaken and also gets to decide which outcomes will be approved. New drugs will be guaranteed to be ineffective, because (in the typical government wisdom) absolutely no side effects will be tolerated.

landlines on June 8, 2009 at 12:33 AM

Those of us who oppose Obamacare will be treated like the “global warming deniers”; mocked and ridiculed and, finally, ignored while congress and the press continues to fellate lord Obama.
And you still think we can wait until 2010 or 2012? Every day I see more evidence that it will be too late by then. Freedom is on a respirator and Ogabe is holding the plug.

SKYFOX on June 8, 2009 at 8:17 AM

Here’s the deal with NSA…if a foreign organization is regularly contacting a medical facility regarding it’s patients, then allow the Gov. to intervene.
The NSA was set up to keep foreign terrorists, and infiltrated domestic terrorists.
It still works with the HIPAA and other agencies. If potential terrorism, say biological, is suspected then let them push aside the “4th” and carry on.
Investigating someone for potential violence and terrorism, is different then finding out if someone is “cheating” the system…people don’t see that as being different?

right2bright on June 8, 2009 at 8:36 AM

Could someone please point out to me the section of the Constitution which permits the federal government to dictate anything at all about health/medical care for the citizens of the 50 States?

DigginDeep on June 8, 2009 at 2:20 PM