Unfree State, July 2, 2008
Health and privacy experts call Maryland’s Big Brother plan to scour citizens’ state income tax records for uninsured children as a waste of resources and an invasion of privacy.
Comptroller Peter Franchot is undertaking the expensive task starting this month as a result of a bill passed in April by the Maryland General Assembly.
Once the state examines all of the tax returns, those eligible families whose children don’t have health insurance will be sent a letter.
“Parents who have children eligible for the States Children’s Health Insurance Program are responsible for getting their children the help they need, John R. Graham, director of health care studies at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco, told EmaxHealth. “Most of these letters will be ignored by the recipients. It will have no impact whatsoever,” Graham said.
Twila Brase, president of the Minnesota-based Citizens’ Council on Health Care, also thinks the plan is wasteful and way out of line.
She says the Maryland government is planning to go on “a fishing expedition” through the confidential tax records of its citizens, according to EmaxHealth. She adds that tax records “are for paying taxes, not for targeting citizens with government marketing programs.
“Most people already know there are government programs,” Brase says. “Clearly, many people don’t want to join them.”
Instead of spending a bundle violating the privacy rights of all of the state’s citizens, Maryland would be far better off offering state tax incentives to encourage low-income individuals to take the initiative to insure themselves and their families.
However, that would be to a logical solution based on personal responsibility. Instead, in the Unfree State, Big Brother must examine everyone’s tax returns, and grow the the already bloated government and welfare state.
How do you feel about the state examining your income tax returns to make sure your children have health insurance?
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