Recently I had a conversation with a nurse practitioner who seemed skeptical when I suggested that, post-Obamacare, the notion of medical privacy is a relic from a bygone era. She vigorously disputed that assertion, claiming that it’s a HUGE FELONY to disclose medical information. Oh yeah. That’s how it used to be, but we’ve come a long way, thanks to the Dear Reader. From The Washington Examiner:
A new 253-page Obamacare rule issued late Friday requires state, federal and local agencies as well as health insurers to swap the protected personal health information of anybody seeking to join the new health care program that will be enforced by the Internal Revenue Service.
Protected health information, or PHI, is highly protected under federal law, but the latest ruling from the Department of Health and Human Services allows agencies to trade the information to verify that Obamacare applicants are getting the minimum amount of health insurance coverage they need from the health “exchanges.”
The ruling, explained on pages 72-73 of the book-thick guidance, does not mention any requirement that applicants first OK the release of their PHI. HHS already allows some exchange of PHI without an individual’s pre-approval, especially when for a “government program providing public benefits.” Officials said the swapping of information is simply meant to help figure the best insurance coverge of Obamacare users.
The new ruling surprised some congressional critics. “This sounds as if HHS will have access to protected health info to me,” said one top Hill aide worried about how well the administration will protect that information.
Conservative groups including Americans for Tax Reform have raised questions about the release of PHI in the aftermath of the IRS scandal.
PHI includes an individual’s medical history, test and laboratory results, insurance information and other data.
The new rule said that appropriate privacy laws will be followed.
OF COURSE, “appropriate privacy laws will be followed.” Are you skeptical about that? How can that be? IRS? Fast and Furious? What say you?