Obamacare Hub and Privacy

Courtesy of Senator Max Baucus (D, MT)—President Barack Obama isn’t the only politician appreciating the joys of greater flexibility after a last election—we get the following concerning Obamacare’s ability to pry into the private affairs of American citizens.

Baucus had asked HHS to provide “a complete list of agencies that will interact with the Federal Data Services Hub,” the agency of Obamacare that is responsible for determining eligibility, exemptions, grant sizes, and so on related to the delivery of Obamacare…services.

The Hub will, it turns out, draw from the Social Security Administration, the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Defense, and the Peace Corps and it will suck data from the states’ Medicaid databases.

That’s a broad reach of information feed to support determining who’s buying insurance and who needs to be finedtaxed or subsidized.

Here’s a subset of the personal, private information being collected by the Federal government on every individual American:

Social Security numbers, income, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, and enrollment status in other health plans….

Of course, the Feds aren’t going to actually store those data, or so they claim.  They’ll only “securely transmit” those data.

Sure.  Never mind that the Feds’ regulatory notice filed last winter was for

a new “system of records” that will store names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, taxpayer status, gender, ethnicity, email addresses, telephone numbers on the millions of people expected to apply for coverage at the ObamaCare exchanges, as well as “tax return information from the IRS, income information from the Social Security Administration, and financial information from other third-party sources.”

They will also store data from businesses buying coverage through an exchange, including a “list of qualified employees and their tax ID numbers,” and keep it all on file for 10 years.

All of those data listed above, plus a potful more, will be collected by the Hub.  And retained, apparently under the fiction that 10 years is just temporary storage solely for “secure transmission.”

And all of that temporarily stored information can be bruited about at will without so much as a fare-thee-well to the information’s owners—us private citizens.  The following can have our data without notice:

agency contractors, consultants, or grantees…need[ing] to have access to the records…as well as law enforcement officials….

Of course, it’s the Feds’ definition of “need,” not ours; it’s against the Feds’ evident lack of interest in safeguarding this information of ours that they’re collecting:

  • A [GAO] report found that weaknesses in IRS security systems “continue to jeopardize the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the financial and sensitive taxpayer information.”
  • A separate Inspector General audit found that the IRS inadvertently disclosed information on thousands of taxpayers between 2009 and 2010.
  • In 2011, the Social Security Administration accidentally released names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of Americans.

Where’s the NSA when we need it?  Oh, wait….

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