OVERBECK: When medical secrets become public

The Washington Times –

Obamacare’s electronic records mandate could jeopardize candidates

Imagine, if you will, the 2014 election. A charismatic conservative woman — another Sarah Palin — is running for the Senate seat of a Democrat lion long in fang. The Republican is a darling of the Tea Party base, which also tends to be pro-life. She’s leagues ahead of the Democrat incumbent: Her rallies are electric, her speeches inspiring. But scant weeks before the election, screaming headlines announce the unthinkable: The popular conservative had an abortion as a 20-something. Her disillusioned pro-life base stays home, and she loses big.

Somehow, her health records were leaked to the press. By whom? In a few short months, the Internal Revenue Service will be in charge of enforcing 50 new provisions of Obamacare. That’s the same IRS now revealed as a wholly owned subsidiary of President Obama’s governing principle, “the Chicago way.” As enforcers, the IRS will have full electronic access to the medical records of every single American.

Mull that over for a minute. Think about the huge damage the IRS has already done to Mr. Obama’s conservative opponents with outrageously lawless tactics — delaying tax-exempt nonprofit status for years, intimidating them with threats of perjury, illegally demanding donor lists, and leaking those lists to liberal media are just a few. These persecutions doubtlessly muzzled the Tea Party groups’ power and outreach. Many of these groups focus on get-out-the-vote campaigns, and the Obama camp’s successful stifling of those efforts may well have influenced the 5 million Republicans who stayed home in 2012. By robbing the opposition of its megaphone, the IRS doubtless helped win the election for Mr. Obama.

Actually, the IRS medical records seizure is already under way. Recently news broke that the agency illegally stole 60 million confidential client medical records of a California health care provider. Though this happened way back in March of 2011, it came to light now because the health care company is suing the IRS. Good luck with that. The Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are looking into it and have sent the usual strongly worded letter to the new IRS commissioner. Good luck with that, too. IRS agents had a search warrant to look into the financial, not the medical, records of one former company employee. From there, they creatively expanded their probe into the medical records of 10 million Americans — information on gynecological and psychological counseling, sexual and drug treatment, and more.

According to the lawsuit, the records belonged to “celebrities, sports personalities and CEOs,” and even “the intimate medical records of every state judge in California leading members of the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild, and prominent citizens in the world of entertainment, business and government.”

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