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Bachmann brings MNsure privacy scare into Obamacare funding debate

Posted by: under 6th District, Health care, Minnesota congressional Updated: September 27, 2013 - 1:02 PM

As the Senate voted Friday to advance a final government spending bill that doesn’t defund Obamacare, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann managed an hour of time on the House floor to air a passel of GOP objections to the health care law.

With the government lurching toward shutdown, one of Bachmann’s closing arguments relied on the recent security breach in Minnesota involving the unauthorized release of personal information of some 1,500 insurance agents via an email sent by an employee at MNsure, the agency that will run the Obamacare insurance exchange in the state.

Opponents of the new health law say the incident shows the inherent dangers of giving government bureaucrats access to personal data, including social security numbers, on millions of Americans shopping for health insurance. In order to determine eligibility for subsidies, the critics say, the new exchanges will have to maintain a data “hub” of personal information about patients’ finances, job status, taxes and health needs.

“We have never before seen in the history of the United States a conflagration and a centralizing of all of this personal data in one hub,” Bachmann said. “And how can we, the American people, have any level of assurance that this data will be secure?”

Backers of the law argue that the system has undergone extensive security testing and that the government must still abide by the protections of the Privacy Act of 1974 and the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002.

But Bachmann, an ardent foe of abortion rights and Obamacare, says the law will still put personal privacy at risk, including “sensitive private health care information about whether or not you’ve been to see a psychiatrist or a counselor, or what happened between you and your doctor.”

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