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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