Does ObamaCare threaten privacy rights, especially regarding federal tax returns? Appparently so, and the news comes from a surprising source. CBS’ Declan McCullagh takes a look at the arcane provisions in HR3200, the ObamaCare bill coming to the House floor once Congress comes out of hiding in September, and notices a disturbing provision that has implications for privacy:
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.”
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.”
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.
The latter is perhaps the most disturbing. In sections 431 and 245, the breach of privacy begins with an applicant requesting the “affordability credits,” or in more accurate language, subsidies (or perhaps even more honest, welfare). In 1801, the government simply grabs everyone’s records and starts perusing them, looking for welfare-qualified Americans who may not yet know it.
Gee, I wonder what else they’ll find — or who else will be looking, for that matter. HR3200 seems to let every Tom, Dick, and Barack into your supposedly private records. But hey, they’re from the government too, right? They must be here to help.
And if they’re this cavalier about your privacy on tax records, just imagine what they’ll do with your health records.