Thursday, October 24, 2013

Frank Pallone Fails on HIPAA

Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) made a brief splash in the headlines today with this petulant outburst:

Setting aside his assertion that Congress has "no legitimate" interest in overseeing the actions of the Executive branch of government (really!?!?), I was particularly fascinated by his statement that HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which defines and regulates what sort of personal information can and cannot be disclosed in regards to health care) does not apply to the website, because "no information is required in the application process."

Ummm... no.

Quoting from the Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on the DHHS website:
“Individually identifiable health information” is information, including demographic data, that relates to:
  • the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition,
  • the provision of health care to the individual, or
  • the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual,
I draw your attention to that last bullet point.

The whole POINT of creating an account on the website is to get health insurance coverage. And what does health insurance coverage do?

(Imagine this being said in the same obnoxious sing-song sarcastic tone of voice that Rep. Pallone uses in the clip above:)

It pays for the provision of health care to the individual.

Bear in mind that this was all in the context of Republican objections to, and questioning of, a clause in the TOS of the website which says "You have no expectation of privacy."

The Republicans are right on this one, and Rep. Pallone is wrong.

HIPAA does apply, because it protects information dealing with health insurance information. And that is precisely what one is doing by signing up on the website.

And he knows that. He's just madly scrambling to do anything and everything he can to help cover up the disaster that is Obamacare, and the Obamacare website, and everything associated with it. Rep. Pallone is a partisan hack of the worst order, and should be turned out of office in 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, both Rep. Pallone and Rep. Barton are are likely wrong. The data input to the website is definitely covered under the HIPAA privacy law. However, it is not 100% that either CGI Federal or the website is a "covered entity" under HIPAA, as they are neither a Health Care Provider, Health Plan and potentially not a Health Care Clearing House.