- - Thursday, October 30, 2014

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy. However, I didn’t really need a doctor to tell me I should avoid wheat. When I eat too much bread, pizza or cake, instantly my face swells and I get a pounding headache. A few slices of pizza and I’m down for hours. Still, it is hard to resist these comforting foods, even for health reasons.

Recently, my 12-year-old niece made homemade cupcakes to turn a simple family get-together into something a little more special. She worked hard on the treats, sifting and measuring flour and sugar, folding in the eggs at just the right time. Her cupcakes were the real homemade kind, not so-called homemade from a box. I wanted to be supportive by eating one. “Don’t worry, Aunt Chrissy. There’s no wheat in them, just flour,” she said with a smirk. Before I could comment, she interrupted, “If you believe me, you can eat the cupcake!”

I decided to believe her and indulge. Within an hour, I was digging through my purse in a desperate search for prescription strength Naproxen. My niece’s palatable spin couldn’t negate the very real consequences — I get a pounding headache from wheat, even when I call it something else.

Last week, I wrote about the very real consequences of the IRS gaining access to our medical records through Obamacare. President Obama devotees immediately countered my claims with some “flour’s not wheat” spin of their own. They sent me about a dozen news articles, all with a similar headline, “Obamacare Won’t Give the IRS Access to Medical Records.” Some of these articles flat out denied the claim and wrongly reported that conservatives are just grasping for reasons to repeal Obamacare. Others explained the root of the claims.

These articles explained that the IRS won’t have access to our medical records, just health insurance records (which contain our medical records!) The IRS will be tasked with evaluating who may or may not be eligible for government subsidies, so they will only be reviewing our health insurance records (again, which contain our medical records!) The IRS also will be collecting the fine from those who do not comply with the new mandate to purchase health insurance, so sometimes they might need to access records that aren’t in our insurance records. But this is only for evaluation and collection purposes. This doesn’t give the IRS access to our medical records. (Insert sarcastic emoticon.)

How stupid do they think we are? My niece was being cheeky when she said flour wasn’t wheat. Not so with these deceptive explanations about Obamacare, the IRS and our medical records. They really want us to believe health insurance records aren’t medical records.

If someone is being treated for a sexually transmitted disease, insurance covers this treatment and therefore, it is part of his or her insurance records. If someone is taking anti-depressants or Viagra, that is part of his or her insurance records. Even when a procedure is not covered by insurance, it could still be in your records if it was submitted for coverage. Further, in evaluating who is and is not eligible for subsidies, medical records can be accessed by those doing the evaluation.

All of this certainly does give the IRS access to our medical records, whether you call them medical records or not!

A few articles took a more honest approach. They admitted the IRS will have access to our medical records, yet claimed there is no cause for alarm because there are laws against the IRS and other government agencies abusing their access. Oh good, now I feel better. No one at the IRS ever does anything against the law. (Insert giant sarcastic emoticon.)

Alongside the political scandal at the IRS, where candidates had their tax records breached or altered, there’s an identity theft scandal that is getting less attention in the news. IRS employees are stealing taxpayers’ identities and then collecting their tax returns. Apparently millions of dollars in tax returns have been stolen this way.

And we’re supposed to just sit back and let Obamacare give these same unvetted government employees access to our medical records simply because there are laws against abusing their access? This doesn’t sit well with me. And it shouldn’t sit well with those who are still clinging to the idea that health insurance records are different from medical records. Let’s all hope that those on the left can put their political differences aside in order to fix this dangerous consequence. Otherwise, it’s going to take a lot more than a prescription pain killer to undo this headache.

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