The Obama administration adamantly denies it, but rumors are circulating in Washington that his Department of Health and Human Services is already collecting Americans’ private health information, or at least preparing itself to do so.

Rep. Denny Rehberg, the chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services and Education formalized the rumors by asking about them in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday.

“Specifically, I have been told that HHS has already procured a contractor to build a database and that this contractor has already taken steps to acquire personal health care data from a large claims database,” Rehberg wrote. “I would like to know if these reports are, in fact, true. If so, it would represent an egregious violation of the privacy rights that the American public rightfully demands.”

Rehberg’s question relates to an Obamacare implementation rule which HHS officials proposed recently but haven’t yet formally implemented. HHS spokeswoman Erin Shields told The Daily Caller that these rules aren’t final, and added that the Obama administration has “outlined proposals that will help keep premiums down for the American people.”

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