Monday, November 30, 2009

5 Paragraphs You Must Read In Senate Health Bill

The November 23, 2009 Christian Science Monitor published an OpEd by Sue Blevins and Robin Kaigh on how the Senate health bill will undermine Americans' health freedom and privacy.

They cover five specific points, including what the bill says, what that translates into in real life, and the bottom line. Here are excerpts from their essay, "Senate health care bill: the five paragraphs you must read":
1. Mandatory insurance

Translation: Uncle Sam will now serve as your national insurance agent and force you to buy "minimum essential coverage" -- or else you'll have to pay an annual fine.

2. Electronic data exchanges

Translation: Requiring everyone to buy federally sanctioned health insurance, and then forcing qualified plans to comply with Administrative Simplification requirements, provides the government and health industry with power they would not be able to exercise in a free market.

3. Real-time health and financial data

Translation: Administrative Simplification rules are being expanded to gather real-time financial and health data on individuals through a tracking ID, possibly a "machine readable" ID card (electronic device).

4. Health data network

Translation: Your personal health information may soon be studied by government scientists. Washington is creating a new research center that plans to use patients' electronic health records for conducting research and creating disease registries. The data network is comprehensive and includes use of electronic health records.

5. Personal health information

Translation: Think your health privacy is protected? It's not. This language refers to "applicable confidentiality and privacy standards," but HIPAA's so-called privacy law permits individuals' personal health information to be exchanged – for many broad purposes – without patients' consent (See 45 CFR Subtitle A, Subpart E – Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information; section 164.502(a)(1)(ii) "Permitted uses and disclosures").
(Read the full text of "Senate health care bill: the five paragraphs you must read".)

Congress is prepared to seize an unprecedented degree of power over individuals' personal medical information and decision making.