What Personal Data? It’s Government’s Data

And we don’t care about its security.

Security experts worried that 35 state health exchange websites were vulnerable to hackers and were rated as “high risk” for security problems before ObamaCare’s launch….

Fears that the health law’s websites could put consumers at risk have plagued the program’s rollout from the beginning, but the administration told The Associated Press that the documents offer only a partial and “outdated” snapshot of an improving situation.

Never mind that “improving” now doesn’t alter the fact that the security failures existed at the time of the rollout.  And HHS rolled out their ObamaMart, anyway.  For example:

Health Plans vs Emergency Cash Savings

In light of the rapidly rising cost of health “coverage,” courtesy of Obamacare, I thought I’d offer a few thoughts comparing health plans with emergency cash savings.  To concretize things, let’s say a medical emergency costs $50,000.  A three-person household consisting of 43- and 41-year old parents and a 16-year-old child, a family with an $85,000 annual income in Collin County, Texas might select a Silver Plan from the ObamaMart that has a $681 monthly premium and that pays 70% of covered medical expenses after deductible and copays (this Plan has a $12,700 annual deductible with copays of $500 for ER and $250 for a hospital stay of any length, but let’s ignore these for this comparison.  On the other hand, let’s say the $50k medical event is a comprised of items that are covered under the Plan.  Also, it should be clear that, even though I’m positing a three-member family, the principles illustrated would apply to a family of any size, from a single person on up).

A Pending Blow for States’ Rights

A group of legislators in Maryland has introduced the “Fourth Amendment Protection Act” in the Maryland state legislature, a bill that would deny state support to Federal agencies engaged in warrantless electronic surveillance.  This bill is aimed directly at the National Security Agency and its warrantless monitoring and tracking of US citizens (secret warrants?  C’mon), and it would block the provision of “material support, participation, or assistance in any form” by any state entity or any entity of a political subdivision of the state, or by companies with state contracts.

Expectation of Privacy

In Klayman v Obama, DC District Federal Judge Richard Leon issued an injunction requiring the government to stop collecting metadata on Americans’ phone calls, ruling the NSA’s program likely unconstitutional.  Leon then stayed his injunction pending appeals.

The Wall Street Journal had some thoughts about Leon’s ruling; as some might expect, I have some thoughts about the WSJ‘s thoughts.

While obtaining the content of phone calls requires a warrant, the High Court ruled that people have no “reasonable expectation of privacy” for information about phone calls such as the date, time and length of their calls and the numbers they dial.  Such transactional data inevitably belong to the service provider, not to individuals….

How Does This Work?

The CMS has a Request for Proposal out [emphasis added]:

Solicitation Number: RFP-CMS-RMADA-2014
Notice Type: Modification/Amendment
Synopsis: Added: Nov 20, 2013 1:17 pm

The purpose is to develop a Research, Measurement, Assessment, Design, and Analysis (RMADA) IDIQ [Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contracting/procurement type] to respond to expanded needs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care ACT (ACA) and Health Care reform ACT (HCERA).  The work awarded under the RMADA will involve the design, implementation and evaluation of a broad range of research and/or payment and service delivery models to test their potential for reducing expenditures for Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and uninsured beneficiaries while maintaining or improving quality of care.

More on ObamaMart

HealthCare.gov thinks it’s made an improvement: now we can browse—sort of—some notional health “insurance” plans and their notional premiums.  The images below (because the technology is smarter than I am, so I can’t meld them into the single image that exists at HealthCare.gov/how-much-will-marketplace-insurance-cost/) show just how meaningless this “improvement” is.

And

As you can see, the ObamaMart still is withholding any sort of idea of actual costs—explicitly, you don’t get to see deductibles and copays, and you only get to see “premiums” for two age groups—which lump together too many characteristics for these made-up numbers to be taken seriously.

A Failure from Not Bothering with Checking Backgrounds

We have the Obama administration’s decision not to bother with serious background checks on its…navigators…who will be collecting all of our personal financial and medical data as they “help” us choose an Obamacare “insurance” policy.

Now we have another outcome of that administration decision.  Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s home was trespassed against by one of these attackers and a crowd of her cronies.

Veronica Miranda…appeared with “four busloads of her friends” at [Kobach's] home near Kansas City in June.

“She was more than trespassing,” [Kobach] said.  “She was attempting to intimidate a public official.”

Privacy and Validity

Eric Boehm, in a recent Watchdog.org post, noted some concerns about Obamacare.

Thanks to new regulations that are part of the federal Affordable Care Act, patients will be asked to disclose more personal information to their doctors—including how often they have sex and how with how many sexual partners.

And once they do, it won’t really be personal information any more.

Similar questions exist for drug use history, and the questions are required of all doctors, from your dermatologist or osteopath to your GP—regardless of the questions’ relevance to the health problem that brought you to the doctor.

I Wonder

…whether this might be doable in the US.  An English gentleman has a solution to those annoying cold calls from someone, or some robot, wanting to pitch you this or collect your personal information for that.

A man annoyed by cold callers has turned the tables by setting up his own premium rate number which earns him money.

Lee Beaumont said he paid £10 plus VAT to set up his personal 0871 line in November 2011 and has made £300 from calls he has received since.

It certainly has had a useful effect from my perspective:

Closing a Business is a Felony

Justice James Clark McReynolds wrote 75 years ago, in a dissent from a Commerce Clause-impacting labor case, this in part:

We are told that Congress may protect the “stream of commerce….”  Therefore it is said he may be prevented from doing anything which may interfere with its flow.

May a mill owner be prohibited from closing his factory or discontinuing his business because so to do would stop the flow of products to and from his plant in interstate commerce?

Apparently he can, when the stream of commerce’s products include government’s ability to spy on its citizen employers.