Reading the ObamaCare legislation package is a little like reading some bad Orwellian novel set in the future.
It's not long before the reader encounters just how far-reaching and invasive this bill really is. On page 57, under section 163, there is something that would give the government power to reach into benefits recipients' bank accounts. It is called "Administrative Simplification," and Subsection 1173A of this measure, "Standardize Electronic Transactions" has a provision (a)(2)(B) that ensures that this new governmental power:
"be authoritative, permitting no additions or constraints for electronic transactions ..." (C) "be comprehensive, efficient and robust, requiring minimal augmentation by paper transactions or clarification by further communications;" and, finally, (D) enable the real-time (or near real-time) determination of an individual’s financial responsibility at the point of service and, to the extent possible, prior to service, including whether the individual is eligible for a specific service with a specific physician at a specific facility, which may include utilization of a machine-readable health plan beneficiary identification card;" ... (E) "enable, where feasible, near real-time adjudication of claims ..." (Emphasis added)
This sounds like something the Soviets would have done (had they been given the capability) to its citizens during the Cold War. Essentially, the government has the sole authority to fish money out of patient bank accounts without constraint and in real time. Under (4)(C) of this subsection it says the government would have the capability to "enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance advice ... "
While there is an appeals process outlined later, the reality is that patients would be facing a bureaucracy to get money back, once the government had allocated his or her money to pay for services. There are, however, a number of safeguards for health care providers -- as well as incentives to enroll in the automated electronic transaction system -- but for individuals who opt in on a government plan, there are, according to (a)(6)(F) of subsection 1173A, "civil monetary and programmatic penalties for non-compliance ..."
The scary part? Nowhere in section 163 does it explicitly outline a requirement for patient authorization. In other words, the government can take patient money without their permission, authorization -- or knowledge. Section 163 does outline limitations on data usage and ensures that patient documents -- such as doctor notes, medications and treatments -- be safeguarded under HIPPA laws. There is not, however, a single word about obtaining authorization for financial transactions from the people who are insured under the government program.
President Barack Obama may defend this measure by scoffing it off and saying the federal government would never take its citizens' money without their permission, but unless the legislation actually says that, how are they to know?
In the six short months he's been in office, the president has broken so many promises that it would silly to simply take his word for it.
If this is the "Change we can believe in" that Obama talked about last year, Americans should prepare for it by adding an overdraft protection plan to their bank accounts.