Thursday, October 24, 2013

Our Reps Don't Know The Law*

"No health information is required in the application and why is that? Because pre-existing conditions don't matter. So once again we have my Republican colleagues trying to scare everybody. ... HIPAA doesn't apply. There's no health information in the process. You're asked about your address, your date of birth, you're not asked health information so why are we going down this path?" - Rep. Frank Pallone (D - NJ)
Representative Pallone went on to call the PPACA Implementation Failures hearing by the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives a "monkey court."

Well, someone seems to have misinformed Rep. Pallone but you'll likely get no retraction from him because as I've said in a previous blog entry the truth doesn't matter to most leftist political leaders. His cause is the religion of collectivist utopia where the Machiavellian process is not only moral, it's an absolutely necessity.

So what's the truth? The site requires an individual to set up an account before they can browse health insurance plans. On the very first setup screen it asks the website user to enter the information in the picture below:
Note what's included: name, state and email address. It asks for additional information later, but rather than getting into the entire site let's examine page one. The HIPAA Privacy Rule clearly states that "'Individually identifiable health information" is information, including demographic data..." Trust me when I tell you that your state is demographic data. More importantly, it clearly says that the data also relates to information that:
"...identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual. Individually identifiable health information includes many common identifiers (e.g., name, address, birth date, Social Security Number)." (emphasis added)
Now I don't know about you, but if someone gives me their first, last and middle name, email address and state I can definitely find them. In fact, Facebook uses those elements in its primary search engine to look up users! In addition, as Rep. Pallone says "You're asked about your address, your date of birth..." HIPAA distinctly calls this "individually identifiable health information."

So Rep. Frank Pallone (D - NJ) was not just wrong. He was as Isaac Asimov put it "wronger than wrong":
"When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
I've tried calling his office to correct the record but they won't answer my questions because I'm not from his district. Maybe you can try.

Washington, DC Office
237 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4671

*CORRECTION: While I still believe that Rep. Barton was 100% incorrect about the personal data being provided on Healthcare website, there is a strong argument that Rep. Barton was also incorrect. Per HIPAA, the law only applies to "covered entities" and its not clear that CGI Federal is among that group. To be a covered entity you have to be either a Health Care Provider, Health Plan or Health Care Clearing House.

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