According to stipulations in The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, random and unannounced visits might be a provision of the new government healthcare program. Those eligible and enrolled in the ‘Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program’ (MIECHV) can expect to receive random visits, especially those who are in “high risk categories”.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HSS) recognizes high-risk categories as:
- Eligible families who reside in communities in need of such services.
- Low-income eligible families.
- Eligible families who are pregnant women who have not attained age 21.
- Eligible families that have a history of child abuse or neglect or have had interactions with child welfare services.
- Eligible families that have a history of substance abuse or need substance abuse treatment.
- Eligible families that have users of tobacco products in the home.
- Eligible families that are or have children with low student achievement.
- Eligible families with children with developmental delays or disabilities.
- Eligible families with individuals who are serving, or formerly served, in the Armed Forces.
In 2011, the HHS said that $224 million would go to support these home visit. The claim is that the program is, “part of the Obama Administration’s strong commitment to invest in what works, including evidence-based approaches to improve outcomes for American’s most vulnerable children and families.”
"Family Check-Up" is what these home-visits are called, and the idea is that these visits will help parents address and prevent challenges in raising their children before these challenges actually become a problem.
“The target population for this program includes families with risk factors including: socioeconomic; family and child risk factors for child conduct problems; academic failure; depression; and risk for early substance use. Families with children age 2 to 17 years old are eligible for Family Check-Up,” states the MIECHV document.
However, Kent Masterson Brown, a constitutional attorney who has litigated in cases where healthcare is affected by government involvement believes that the program is not voluntary. Brown believes that these inspections will tread on the rights on many Americans.
“The eligible entity receiving the grant for performing the home visits is to identify the individuals to be visited and intervene so as to meet the improvement benchmarks," said Brown, speaking at a South Carolina subcommittee hearing. "A homeschooling family, for instance, may be subject to 'intervention' in 'school readiness' and 'social-emotional developmental indicators.' A farm family may be subject to 'intervention' in order to 'prevent child injuries.' The sky is the limit."
An email was sent to the HRSA regarding the Family Check-Up; however, no response was received.