No Warm and Fuzzies Here

To follow on to my previous post about health care records, CNET has a piece on the complete and total lack of privacy provisions built into the health care sections of the Stimulus Package:

What didn’t come up during the president’s first press conference was how one section of the convoluted legislation–it’s approximately 800 pages total–is intended to radically reshape the nation’s medical system by having the government establish computerized medical records that would follow each American from birth to death.

Billions will be handed to companies creating these databases. Billions will be handed to universities to incorporate patient databases “into the initial and ongoing training of health professionals.” There’s a mention of future “smart card functionality.”

Yet nowhere in this 140-page portion of the legislation does the government anticipate that some Americans may not want their medical histories electronically stored, shared, and searchable. Although a single paragraph promises that data-sharing will “be voluntary,” there’s no obvious way to opt out.

“Without those protections, 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 Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom, a nonprofit group that advocates health care privacy.

The Democratic politicians pushing this bill have far-reaching ambitions. The legislation (PDF) (on page 244, for the curious) hands to a still-to-be-named health care bureaucrat the “goal of utilization of an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014.” Selecting official standards will be left to the Department of Health and Human Services (page 265).

The databases will, “at a minimum,” include information on every American’s race and ethnicity. They will be used for “biosurveillance and public health” and “medical and clinical research,” both of which raise privacy questions. They will become part of a “nationwide system for the electronic use and exchange of health information.”

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Read the whole thing.

I find it incredibly odd, curious, and mind-numbing that the same leftists who decried “corporate welfare”, decried the “privacy concerns” from the Bush and Ehrlich years (remember the police spying fiasco?), the people who want to handcuff insurance companies when it comes to denyting coverage for preexisting conditions, and the people who complained about government giving too much power to private entities readily and happily signed on to this boondoggle.

To make a long story short, Democrats in Congress have stripped you of your privacy rights when it comes to health care. You will be tracked from cradle to grave, and there seems to not be a damn thing that you can do about it.

So for those of you out there who voted for Obama, I ask you if you are still glad that you handed our nation’s right to privacy away to government bureaucrats and health care companies?


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