Proof Obamacare Requires All Americans to Be Chipped

An online video presents "evidence" that every U.S. citizen will need to have an RFID transponder implanted under his or her skin—but is the evidence all that it appears?
Published: October 22, 2013

For the past few years, I have been receiving e-mails from outraged Americans who want to know why the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) requires them to be implanted with a radio frequency identification transponder. Sometimes, they want to know how to deactivate it, and sometimes, they just assail me for supporting this technology.

I write back to these people and assure them that I have read the law, and that it requires no such thing. I try to be respectful and share with them the facts.

Rich Handley, our managing editor, recently forwarded me a link to a video (see NBC Predicts: All Americans Will Receive a Microchip Implant in 2017 Per Obamacare) that purports to have “proof” that RFID implants are required under Obamacare. The narrator points to a section of House of Representative bill HR 3962 requiring the creation of a national medical device registry.

The narrator claims, “It talks about class III medical devices, and that’s pacemakers and stuff. But this right here says… ‘may include, as the Secretary determines appropriate and specifies in regulation, a class II device that is life-supporting or life-sustaining.’ What is a class II device?”

The video then shows a document titled “FDA Class II Special Controls Guidance Document: Implantable Radiofrequency Transponder System for Patient Identification and Health Information,” and claims that class II devices are RFID transponders designed to track people.

Even when compared to a lot of nonsense on the Web, this is a pretty poor attempt at “proof” that Obamacare requires RFID tracking. First of all, the narrator shows the bill and not the law that was actually enacted. There is no medical device registry and device serialization required under the law that was passed. The section described in the video was removed. Oops.

Even if you look at the bill as an attempt to promote implantation, the “proof” doesn’t hold up. Class II medical devices include implantable RFID transponders—the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidelines because there were concerns that implanting transponders encapsulated in glass might be harmful—as well as X-ray machines, powered wheelchairs, infusion pumps, surgical drapes, surgical needles, suture materials and acupuncture needles. So the section in the bill (which, again, was removed before passage) was not designed specifically for RFID—and, in fact, did not require RFID for tracking medical devices.

And even if RFID were required to track class II devices, there was nothing in the draft that gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to require patients to be implanted with RFID. The bill said the secretary had the discretion to require serialization of class II devices that are “life-supporting or life-sustaining,” which RFID is obviously not. And even if the law gave the secretary the discretion to call RFID “life-supporting,” the bill only called for the tracking of unique devices. So basically, the bill would have authorized the secretary to require RFID tags be put on implantable transponders, not people.

The myth that Obamacare requires Americans to be embedded with an RFID transponder has been completely, totally and thoroughly debunked. So please stop e-mailing me about this.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor’s Note archive or RFID Connect.