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Re-debunking one easily debunked conservative lie about Obamacare and

November 13, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 13, 2013

On Oct. 25, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee appeared with CNN anchor Carol Costello to discuss GOP charges that might be compromising the privacy — specifically, the medical information — of its users.

Now, I certainly can’t vouch for the security of What I would argue, however, is that if the data it collects from other website visitors goes no deeper than what I provided — and that’s my understanding based on reporting on the matter — then everyone’s medical history is completely safe.

Why is that? Because doesn’t really collect any medical information.

It asked for my name, physical and e-mail addresses, phone number and race. It also asked whether I was a member of a federal recognized Native American tribe, whether I had Hispanic or Latino origins, and whether anyone for whom I was applying for coverage was incarcerated. There were a few multiple choice questions intended to verify my identity: the year was I born, cities in which I had previously lived, the name of the pet for which I had recently purchased veterinary insurance (a red herring; I’ve never owned a pet as an adult).

Excepting, I suppose, the identity verification queries, which the website said were based on the database of the Experian credit bureau, these are all more or less standard questions that any health insurance company would want answered before selling me a policy. In fact, prior to Oct. 1, I’d bet insurance companies would require answers to most or all of those questions before they’d tell me whether they would even sell me a policy.

But didn’t ask me any questions about my medical history, except for this: whether I’d regularly used tobacco products over the last six months. (I’ve never smoked — anything at all.)

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My Obamacare + adventure: Part 1 of ???

November 12, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 12, 2013

I’ve written a number of times on this blog about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally known as Obamacare. On Oct. 31, I criticized President Obama and his administration for repeatedly and explicitly claiming that Americans with health insurance would be able to keep their policies, even though they knew or should have known that this wasn’t the case.

In general, however, I’ve been cautiously optimistic that the law might — emphasis on might — work more or less as intended, which was how I concluded my Sept. 10 post on the topic.

One thing that I haven’t revealed, until now, is that my perspective on the Affordable Care Act is that of a consumer of health care who enjoys having the buffer from bankruptcy and sudden large expenses that solid health insurance can provide. I thought in particular that the law’s guaranteed issue provision, which requires health insurers to sell policies to all who apply, regardless of pre-existing conditions, was something that might benefit me.

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