Will ObamaCare Expose Tax Records?

Declan McCullagh reports on draft health care reform provisions that could require the disclosure of federal tax information.

Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and "other information as is prescribed by" regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for "affordability credits."

Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details -- there's no specified limit on what's available or unavailable -- to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify "affordability credits."

Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a "low-income prescription drug subsidy" but has not applied for it.

As McCullagh notes, these provisions are intended to prevent fraud and ensure that only those who are eligible receive certain subsidies.

When he initially wrote the column, McCullagh wondered where information privacy advocates were on the issue. An update at the end now reports that at least one such organization, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, would oppose Section 431(a) as drafted.