The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


We’ve made it pretty clear on this blog that Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not be good for Americans.  Its big government approach will drive up costs and lower the quality of the kind of healthcare we have become accustomed to.  There is something else it will do and that is firmly insert itself into the personal lives of all Americans.

Read today’s Investor’s Business Daily article by John Merline.  He discusses the reams of data our federal government will collect and share in order to manage ACA.

Merline points out that the law required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a data services hub (The Hub) that will be used to connect state health insurance Exchanges with several federal agencies.  These agencies are the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Homeland Security, the Veterans Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Defense, and the Peace Corps.  (Volunteers receive healthcare from the federal government.)

What will The Hub be used for?  It will be used by the government and health insurance Exchanges to “determine eligibility for benefits, exemptions from the federal mandate, and how much to grant in federal insurance subsidies.”  The Hub will also plug into state Medicaid databases.

The kind of data that The Hub will share are Social Security numbers, income, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, and enrollment status in other health plans.

Merline references Stephen Parente, a University of Minnesota finance professor who said, "The federal government is planning to quietly enact what could be the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic."

Thank about that for a moment.  It is why Merline refers to the National Security Agency (NSA) in his article's title.  We have already seen how NSA has gone further with data collection than what was originally proposed.  How will the government use the Obamacare data?

Supposedly HHS tells us “not to worry” because they won’t store the information, just share it with the other agencies and the states.  But Merline points out that a Federal Register notice tells another story.  He says:

That filing [Federal Register notice] describes 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.

In addition, the filing says the federal government can disclose this information ‘without the consent of the individual’ to a wide range of people, including ‘agency contractors, consultants, or grantees’ who ‘need to have access to the records’ to help run ObamaCare, as well as law enforcement officials to ‘investigate potential fraud.’

Just think of what we have learned about the IRS and NSA these past couple of months and how their data collection has been used and misused.  Merline also points out the numerous occasions the government has lost or inadvertently exposed private data. Can we trust the government to protect the vast collection of personal and financial records under Obamacare, particularly from nefarious applications such as political witch hunts?  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

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