Medical Privacy Lost in Stimulus
March 16, 2009 by Bob Livingston
With the banging of the gavel in the U.S. Senate on the vote for the “Economic Stimulus” bill, your right to medical privacy vanished completely. For hidden in the minutia of the economic boondoggle was a provision to create electronic health records for every U.S. citizen. And under the law you can’t opt out.
This means that people and corporations—including insurance companies and the government—will be electronically linked together to share any information in your health records. This includes the most personal information about you like mental health treatment, surgeries and abortions, as well as whatever complaints you’ve discussed with your physician.
This moves beyond the privacy hit you took when the spuriously named Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule was passed in 1996.
Without the ability to opt out of the database “Americans’ electronic health records could be shared—without their consent—with over 600,000 covered entities through the forthcoming nationally linked electronic health records network,” said Sue A. Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom.
An equally egregious provision in the bill would require your physician to clear with the government any treatments he would prescribe to determine if they are cost-effective based on your health condition and age. Similar laws are in place in the U.K., and seniors or those with serious health problems are often denied treatment for their ailments.
For instance, at one time a person with macular degeneration was required to wait until he is blind in one eye before treatment on the other eye could begin. After a loud hue and cry by the British masses, that particular regulation was changed. But there are other similar ones in existence.
This is what is wrought when Big Brother is in charge. Nothing is private and nothing—not even your own body—is yours.