Spending Bill To Be Signed Into Law Today Could Make Your Medical Records Public

So much for Doctor-Patient privilege. The mis-nomered Stimulus Package to be signed into law to day by President Barack Obama (making him the first president in history to triple the deficit in a single day), contains provisions that not only will allow government to intercede in medical decisions made by your doctor, but also will make your digital medical records availabel for sale, whether you give your consent or not.

Fred Lucas at CNS News has this:

Though the legislation says there is a “prohibition on sale of electronic health records or protected health information,” there are five pages of exceptions to the prohibition that include research, treatment of an individual, or a decision by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to wave the prohibition. (See Legislation, PDF pages 391-395.)

One exception listed in the legislation is if, “The purpose of the exchange is for public health activities.” Another exception is apparently to ensure the data – if sold – are not for commercial reasons, saying, “The purpose of the exchange is for research and the price charged reflects costs of preparation and transmittal of the data for such purpose.”

Another exception is rather broad saying, “The purpose of the exchange is otherwise determined by the secretary in regulations to be similarly necessary and appropriate” in accordance with the other exceptions.

Further, one of the exceptions seemingly states the government can obtain an individual’s health information for the purpose of protecting an individual’s privacy. It reads: “The purpose of the exchange is for treatment of the individual, subject to any regulation that the secretary may promulgate to prevent protected health information from inappropriate access, use or disclosure.”

While it may seem like a safeguard has been built into the system, the truth is that such a safeguard is only an illusion.

More:

But the exceptions on exchanging or selling information could be more problematic to privacy if health records are digital, said Sue Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom, a group that advocates health privacy issues.

“Digital records without consent is a recipe for invasion of privacy,” Blevins told CNSNews.com Monday. “Consent was gutted with HIPAA, but it is really hard to get out paper records. When they are made electronic, you can share data with a click of a mouse.”

Those who could be able to sell the information would be health care providers, insurance companies and other entities that collect the data.

That basically means that the government can collect your information and send in on to entities who pay for it, without your knowledge of the transaction.

But you should be asking yourself certain questions: Why does the government want to keep medical records on you and your family? Why are the politicians even discussing the idea of selling that information? What is to be done with that information? Why is the information not being more aggressively protected?

There should definitely be an “opt-out” for this invasion of privacy. People should be allowed the option of maintaining their own electronic treatment records that they can hand-carry to their providers.

I certainly don’t want my medical records in the hands of the government. Given how poorly the Democrats guard information like that (Hillary Clinton’s FileGate, Sandy Berger removing Top Secret documents from the National Archives, Patrick Leahy’s constant leaks of classified information, etc.), I sure as hell should have the option of keeping those records myself!

You can access the complete article on-line here:

‘Exceptions’ In Stimulus Bill Allow Sale Of Health Records
Fred Lucas
CNS News
February 17, 2009

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