Thursday, August 20, 2009

Your Bank Account Info & Uncle Sam

If letting one of Uncle Sam's bureaucrats sit between you and your doctor doesn't bother you, there are other provisions of health care reform legislation that might not settle on your tummy.

Turning Uncle Sam Into Peeping Tom
Buried in the 1,017 pages of the House Democrats’ health-care bill is a little-noticed provision that for the first time could give the government access to the checking or credit-card information of every American. Under section 163, which is entitled “Administrative Simplification,” the bill sets new “standards” for electronic transactions between individuals and their health-care providers.

According to section 163, the standards will “enable the real-time (or near real-time) determination of an individual’s financial responsibility at the point of service . . . ” In addition, they will “enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with related health care payment and remittance advice.”

What is envisioned is a “machine-readable health plan beneficiary card” that, in addition to information about a person’s medical history, will contain checking-account or credit-card information, so as to allow electronic payments and, if a person is lucky, occasional remittances. Since under the proposed legislation everyone would be required to have health insurance, all Americans would have to provide this information.

The required collection of such data is unprecedented. At no other time has the government sought to collect this type of financial information from everyone in America.


The idea of wholesale collection of checking-account information by Uncle Sam raises many questions. Who would see it? How would people be protected from theft of their account numbers? Fundamentally, who would control this sensitive information?
The writer mentions how several federal employees have already pleaded guilty to spying on passport information, among other things.

My question, simply put, is where in the U.S. Constitution does it empower the federal government to require (mandate) and keep this kind of information on citizens?

You already know the answer. It doesn't.

Another damn good reason to stop the health care reform process.

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