WASHINGTON, D.C., August 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Planned Parenthood employees will soon have access to a vast federal database of sensitive information, including the Social Security number, tax form, bank account, and medical records of every single American citizen as the president seeks their help in implementing ObamaCare.
Consumers purchasing health insurance through health care exchanges will speak to “navigators,” whose job is to help them find the best coverage and determine if they are eligible for a federal subsidy.
The Obama administration has awarded Planned Parenthood more than $655,000 of taxpayer funds to hire “navigators” for the president's health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). State affiliates in Iowa, Montana and New Hampshire were among the 105 organizations receiving $67 million in federal grants.
HHS will not require background checks or fingerprinting of employees, and a previous criminal conviction – including one for identity theft – does not necessarily disqualify an employee from becoming a navigator.
Navigators and their assistants will have access to the federal data hub, an online nexus containing information from the Department of Health and Human Services and seven federal departments: the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Defense Department, the Office of Personnel Management, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Peace Corps.
To expedite hiring before the exchanges go live on October 1, the administration has scaled back screening and cut new employees' training from 30 hours to 20.
This has raised concerns nationwide. Thirteen state attorneys general sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on August 14 saying the administration had “failed to adequately protect the privacy” of American citizens.
“As it now stands, it is inevitable that HHS's vague 'standards' will result in improperly screened or inadequately trained personnel,” they write.
They say the department has not defined what would qualify as a “breach” of privacy, nor defined who is accountable in the event of fraud: the person, his employer, or the exchange.
State regulations to tighten privacy could be said to violate federal regulations, which they call “woefully substandard.”
“Unscrupulous counselors” – whom they warn will be “minimally screened and virtually unaccountable” – will have “easy means to commit identity theft on consumers seeking enrollment assistance.”
They have asked Sebelius to address their letter by August 28.
Others are concerned Planned Parenthood employees could abuse their access to sensitive information to harass their ideological enemies. The National Organization for Marriage saw its tax forms leaked to a gay rights organization and later printed on The Huffington Post by a full-fledged IRS employee.
“We may have come to the point where civil disobedience might be the only solution for an increasingly totalitarian state,” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, told LifeSiteNews.com. “I'm resolved to not comply with the invasion of privacy and taxation without representation.”
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The three state affiliates' new authority comes as Planned Parenthood agreed to a $4.3 million Medicaid fraud settlement and is under national investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“The navigator grants would further enable Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America, to continue its misuse of taxpayer dollars to [supplement] their big abortion business,” Congresswoman Diane Black, R-TN, said.
Yet another concern is that the data hub will be run by Serco, a British-based company that had been hacked in the past, “resulting in the theft of Social Security numbers and other personal information for some 120,000 participants in the federal Thrift Savings Plan,” according to Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute.
“The potential privacy threat from ObamaCare is every bit as great” as NSA spying, Tanner wrote. “Where is Edward Snowden when we need him?”
Just the Facts:
Navigators have access to the federal data hub, including medical records, tax forms, and Social Security numbers.
The data hub culls information from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Defense Department, the Office of Personnel Management, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Peace Corps.
The Obama administration awarded three grants to hire “navigators” to: Planned Parenthood of the Heartland ($214,427), Intermountain Planned Parenthood, Inc.($295,604), and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England ($145,161).
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey raised privacy concerns in a letter signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.
Troy Newman of Operation Rescue told LifeSiteNews.com that “civil disobedience might be the only solution” for Americans to defend their liberties.