On Tuesday, June 16th, President Clinton's Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS), Donna Shalala, announced almost incidentally the proposed establishment of the "National Standard Employer Identifier". This would create, according to Shalala, an identification system "using the existing identifying numbers already assigned by the IRS."
"The national standard employer identifier," said Shalala, "will help eliminate paperwork, simplify activities such as enrollment in health plans and payment of health insurance premiums, and save money for consumers. This is good government, and good sense," she concluded. (Is there an inherent oxymoron in that last sentence?)
In a previous WINDS article the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA--also known as the Kennedy-Kassebaum law) was discussed in which it was revealed that the Act was largely a back-door vehicle by which Hillary Rodham Clinton would get her national health care program with or without the "consent of the governed." This Trojan horse effectively constitutes a stealth health care law to create a covert or camouflaged socialized medicine because the overt attempt failed.
Such incremental, gradualistic assaults have become the modus operandi for those governing. Where they could not gain absolute control over the health care of citizens via the visible, frontal approach, they employ gradual encroachments into private lives by implementing laws that require business to perform the government's acts of privacy invasion for them--laws with which businesses dare not fail to comply if they desire continued existence.
As Joseph Farah of World Net Daily, former editor of The Sacramento Union and now director of the Western Journalism Center, put it, "Incrementally, one baby step at a time, politicians in Washington have continued their long march to nationalize all medical and health services provided in the United States. And they are about to take one of those 'great leaps forward' for which socialists are so proud and famous."
It seems, however, that the greatest leap forward that will be accomplished by this is not in the realm of socialized medicine but, rather, that of creating a more sure method of identifying, tracking and ultimately controlling the movement and lives of American citizens. Mr. Farah described this new "incoming" round from Capitol Hill as "a back-door legislative approach to inching us to the same goal of nationalized health care Hillary Clinton envisioned in 1994."
By all appearances, this is being done because the Clinton Administration didn't get their way with Hillary's plan in '94 so it is needful to accomplish it covertly. But the likely reality of it is sneakier still. Observing this through the eyes of a military strategist, the government has become quite adept at diversionary tactics and the classic feint to convince the enemy that "well, we tried but they were just too tough for us" and pretend to give up, take their lunch and go home. This they do, all the while knowing that very few will be looking for a stealthy, unobtrusive approach from an entirely unexpected route (no mainstream media has given any coverage of Secretary Shalala's proposal).
Much of the current government assault on individual privacy in the area of health care began to take shape under the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). From Section I of the National Standard Employer Identifier entitled "Supplementary Information," subsection B, comes the following:
"HCFA began work on developing a national provider system (NPS) that would contain provider data and be equipped with the technology necessary to maintain and manage the data....The NPS was designed so that it could also be used by other Federal and State agencies and private health plans to enumerate their health care providers that do not participate in Medicare." [emphasis supplied] This, of course, means that even if a person or their doctor has nothing whatever to do with the federal medical bureaucracy, the government will still have access to their medical records and require even the private physician to surrender them on demand.
Within the text of the Identifier Act it says, "A health care provider's identifier would not change with moves or changes in specialty. This facilitates tracking of fraudulent health care providers over time and across geographic areas." And, of course, it facilitates the tracking of everyone else as well.
The National Standard Health Care Provider Identifier is currently being entered into law under the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 45, Part 142. It states:
In July 1993, they [HCFA] undertook a project to develop a provider identification system to meet Medicare and Medicaid needs and ultimately a national identification system for all health care providers to meet the needs of other users and programs. [emphasis supplied]
Please note the phrase "all health care providers". This means anyone who provides any service the government defines as health care whether or not that care is private, in-state and has no connection whatever with government. This can also include any person who provides any care the government decides is "health care", from a physician to a massage therapist to--whomever. And what about psychiatrists? Mental health care is part of this. Even one's minister might be included since they account for much of the "non-professional" mental and spiritual health care. The threatening aspect of this is that whenever there is federal law intimately defining such matters, there are always penalties provided for non-compliance. This fact becomes even more ominous when one considers that those penalties increasingly involve prison time. This is, perhaps, a large reason why only five of every two-hundred inmates in federal prisons are there for the commission of violent crimes. The remainder are locked up for drug-related reasons, white collar crimes, etc.
Under the aforementioned Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is the driving legislation for this new identifier, some of those penalties are defined. In Section 245, subsection 1518(a), entitled: "Obstruction of Criminal Investigations of Health Care Offenses" it states:
(a) Whoever willfully prevents, obstructs, misleads, delays or attempts to prevent, obstruct, mislead, or delay the communication of information or records relating to a violation of a Federal health care offense to a criminal investigator shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. [emphasis supplied]
One does not have to look too far below the surface of this law to understand that all that is necessary to obtain ANY piece of data on ANYONE--irrespective of their so-called right to privacy--would be simply to declare any information the government wants as "relating to a violation of a Federal health care offense."
And who is a "criminal investigator"? That definition is very neatly provided in 1518(b) as "any individual duly authorized by a department, agency, or armed force of the United States." A particularly portentous part of that section, but very easily overlooked, is the inclusion of "armed force of the United States." This tidy little statement, tucked away within a law containing over 37,000 words in 3,500 paragraphs, is part of a continued effort to involve the U.S. military in domestic law enforcement, something traditionally and legally prohibited by the Posse Comitatus Act legislated following the Civil War because of the abuses of southern civilians by the military. Simply put, the government, under this new law would be able to employ the U.S. military for the purpose of investigating and gathering information on private American citizens.
In order to limit the intrusion of the federal government into the affairs of the "sovereign" American states, there are many whose constitutional focus has been on "states' rights". These have not yet awakened to the fact that the states are only "baby feds"--miniature clones of the federal bureaucracy. The battle between them and the federal government amounts only to the question of who will be the ultimate proprietor of the rights they have stolen from the sovereign citizen. The conclusion of the matter is that Americans have only to watch, as spectators, the outcome of their own apathy. The result will inexorably be the same. When one loses their personal liberties because of a careless mental drunkenness and indifference, what does it matter who ends up with those liberties? They are still gone--forever. The only option remaining could possibly be a choice of who forges the lighter chains.
If the present course of super-proliferant law making persists (which it undoubtedly will), Congress--or to whatever international authority this nation has bowed the knee--will not have to make any more laws. They will need only declare the existence of any desired imaginary statute. After all, who will be able to refute it? Who would be able to find a given law in the unimaginable mountain of legislation that will (and indeed does already) exist? All they need to do is compose any legal-appearing document on their word processors. Their unrivaled ability to create "law" at will, simply by such legal vapor as, for example, Executive Orders or merely to re-interpret existing law, has become the legislative counterpart of a Speilberg fantasy. So utterly realistic is this governmental legerdemain in the eyes of those hypnotized by it, that they become willing participants in their own demise. They do verily place the knife in the hand of their executioner.
Joseph Farah included in his presentation of this matter some rhetorical questions to which The WINDS would like to provide the answers.
Mr. Farah asked:
Q: Are you ready to trust Big Brother with your medical secrets?
A: Evidently "Yes".
Q: When will the American people awake from their stupor to comprehend the liberties they are compromising?
Q: Is national debate no longer even considered necessary before Washington is permitted to hijack personal privacy and individual freedom?
A: Since this question was asked in the reverse negative the answer is, Yes--it is no longer even considered necessary.
Why is it that debate is "no longer even considered necessary" for this nation's government to steal the liberties of its citizens?
The Scriptures say that if the "...man of the house had known at what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not suffered his house to be broken into." However, when the thief has convinced that man that he is the man's best friend and then slowly, covertly pilfers his house of things that the man either does not care about or does not know he has, the householder detects no problem with his life or possessions. When the thief further convinces the homeowner that he has only the man's greatest welfare at heart and then is allowed to borrow his most prized possessions--well, it is the truth about thieves that they do not borrow. The householder finds he has nothing left and no recourse to recover it. Can anyone remember government ever returning a right or power they once"borrowed" from the people?
It is human nature to disregard the multitude of constitutional violations perpetrated against those who "have it coming", not realizing that if our government will do so to them they will do so to all when it serves their purposes. They need only sufficient rationalization to decide that left-handed people, or those who are cross-eyed, or those who attend church on any other than a prescribed day, represent a sufficient threat to "our way of life" and there will be laws against them.
It is not because this is the most lawless nation on earth that it has the largest percentage of its population behind bars. It is because this nation has the most laws--and more laws make more criminals. Politicians love to point to their record of being tough on crime by showing how many prosecutions are being conducted and convictions gained. What they do not emphasize is that this is accomplished by the creation of entirely new criminal classes by the creation of entirely new laws.
It should be considered that any nation would appear to be a wonderfully free country to any citizen who desired to do nothing the government did not want. A very infamous person once said that all a person must do to be free is not to desire to be anywhere else than where he is. That was said by Charles Manson from his Vacaville prison cell. It is only when people find in themselves the natural human longing to create a change in their lives and then discover that their government has a "law" against that particular change that they realize they are not free at all.
This is not implying that if one has a desire for money, which they have not earned, that they should be allowed to make unauthorized withdrawals from their local bank using a Smith & Wesson bank card. Some laws are justified.
In a recent WINDS article it was revealed that if one desires to use a harmless, all-natural sugar substitute rather than those, such as Aspartame, that have been proven toxic in many cases--the government has laws restricting or prohibiting the sale of that natural sweetener. Sadly, very few would bother to think deeply enough to realize that such laws strike at the most essential foundations of human freedom--those enumerated most clearly by the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
When a government decides that it must take upon itself the role of protecting a citizen against him or herself, it usurps the God-given right of self-determination--even if that determination proves harmful to the individual.
Government, in spite of its profession, does not take upon itself the role of protecting its citizens against themselves because of concern and compassion for the welfare of those citizens but, rather, a perceived need to control them. And there can be no control where liberties are actively appreciated and guarded. Benjamin Franklin once said that "anyone who is willing to sacrifice a little essential liberty [even the right to choose private health care] for a little temporary security [the government taking care of them] deserves neither liberty nor security."
Ben was right. This country's citizens have neither.
*Federal Register: May 7, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 88) Section I, paragraph iv.
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