ObamaCare info can be used for "law enforcement and audit activities," says Maryland exchange

The other day, Byron York posed a rather uncomfortably poignant question on the Twitters: “Does the punishing way the Obama administration has run aspects of the shutdown reveal anything about how it will run national health care?”

The very obvious ways in which the bureaucracy is going out of its way to make sure that the shutdown is causing as much highly visible pain as possible, combined with some of the other petty and political behaviors we have seen from The Most Transparent Administration, Evah of late (the IRS’s growing track record of political vendettas springs immediately to mind), makes me feel just a tad bit uneasy about the federal government having access to and control over so many individuals’ deeply personal information with the formation of the ObamaCare databases.

Yesterday, I mentioned the news that Maryland has finally succeeded in enrolling at least a few hundred of their exchanges’ visitors for insurance plans — but I certainly hope those enrollees took a moment to read the fine print. Jeryl Bier at the Weekly Standard caught it, emphasis mine:

If users are able to endure long page-loading delays, they are presented with the website’s privacy policy, a ubiquitous fine-print feature on websites that often go unread. Nevertheless, users are asked to check off a box that they agree to the terms. …

The first is regarding personal information submitted with an application for those users who follow through on the sign up process all the way to the end.  The policy states that all information to help in applying for coverage and even for making a payment will be kept strictly confidential and only be used to carry out the function of the marketplace.  There is, however, an exception: “[W]e may share information provided in your application with the appropriate authorities for law enforcement and audit activities.”

The second of these pause-worthy conditions states that any emails sent to the system will become part of the public record, and ergo, that “your correspondence could be disclosed to other parties upon their request in accordance with Maryland’s Public Information Act.” Awesome.

As Bier notes, the wording of the privacy statement looks awfully and deliberately vague; to which authorities, exactly, is the statement referring, and who exactly determines when it is appropriate to release that information to said authorities? The world may never know.

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