Tag Archives: medical privacy

Government violates your medical privacy for medical price comparisons. But private sector already does this.

On November 1, Denver Business Journal reported:

The Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) launched a website Thursday that officials believe eventually will give Colorado patients and insurers a tangible way to find health care that is less expensive and more effective, bringing down its overall costs.

By the end of 2013, the All Payers Claims Database (link here) is expected to be able compare the costs of major medical procedures at hospitals and outpatient centers across the state, allowing allow people to choose less costly care and pressure expensive outliers to bring down prices.

Amy Oliver and Linda Gorman have reminded us that the All-Payer Claims Database threatens our medical privacy:

As if this isn’t bad enough, the alleged benefit of government taking our medical data for a website that compares prices is dubious. The private sector is already doing this. For example:

There’s more. In an article titled “How to Research Health Care Prices,” the Wall Street Journal states:

Changehealthcare.com, a unit of change:healthcare Inc., provides estimates of how much individual providers are paid by insurers, based on claims data from health plans.

And NewChoiceHealth.com gives providers’ list prices, which are derived from Medicare data, according to New Choice Health Inc. Another site, OutOfPocket.com, has a search service to help users find online pricing information listed on various sites.

You can also check for prices posted by specific hospitals and doctors. These are still relatively rare, and may represent list charges. But a few hospitals are also revealing roughly what they’re paid by insurers or offering calculators so insured patients can figure their out-of-pocket fees. A site called PriceDoc.com seeks to aggregate listings from doctors.

But government has the ability to create an unfair competitive advantage by requiring physicians to divulge information. Hmm.

See also John C. Goodman’s post: Domestic Medical Tourism is Taking Off.

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Ten Reasons ObamaCare is a Government Takeover of Health Care

From the Galen Institute’s Resource Guide for Candidates:

Ten Reasons ObamaCare is
A Government Takeover of Health Care
The 2,700-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created the architecture for the government-controlled health care system that the administration is busily constructing through thousands of pages of regulation. Yet some argue that ObamaCare isn’t a government takeover of health care. Here are ten reasons why it is:
  1. MANDATES For the first time ever, the federal government will force citizens to use their own money to purchase a private product. The fact that the Supreme Court says the penalty for not complying is a tax does not diminish this breathtaking assertion of federal authority. Americans now are compelled to purchase an expensive health insurance product every month for their entire lives. What’s the next purchase the government will compel?
  2. GOVERNMENT DECIDES The federal government will also determine what health care benefits are “essential” — not us, not our doctors, but government bureaucrats.
  3. REGULATIONS Doctors and hospitals will face an avalanche of new reporting rules to make sure they are providing medical services that fit the government’s definition of “quality care.”
  4. 159 NEW BUREAUCRACIES The legislation creates at least 159 new boards, commissions, and programs that will rule over virtually every corner of the health care sector.
  5. STATES The states are being treated like contractors to the federal government, not sovereign entities empowered by the Constitution. They are ordered to set up new exchange bureaucracies lest the federal government sweep in and do it for them.
  6. EMPLOYER MANDATE Any employer with more than 50 employees must provide government-decreed health insurance to its workers — or face financial penalties.
  7. LOSING CURRENT COVERAGE Nearly 80 million people will not have the option of keeping the coverage they get through their jobs, according to results of a survey from McKinsey & Company. Many of them will be forced into the government-run health insurance exchanges.
  8. HIGHER SPENDING ObamaCare dramatically expands the number of people whose health coverage will be paid for entirely or in part by taxpayers, giving the government more power to decide which medical services millions more people will receive — or not.
  9. PRIVACY In order to parcel out taxpayer subsidies for insurance, the government and employers are going to need to know a lot more about us. An estimated 16,500 more IRS agents will be needed to check on our income and any changes to family status and our compliance with this massive new law.
  10. PUBLIC PLANS The law creates the infrastructure for public plans by requiring a federal agency to sponsor at least two national health plans. If private plans are crushed by ObamaCare’s regulations or simply turned into government contractors, these government plans could dominate the market, leading to the government-run health care system that the majority of Americans deplore.

We hope you find this Pro Patient Minute useful. Please feel free to circulate this to friends, family, and associates who need to know the truth about ObamaCare. The whole series is available on our website as Galen Guides. I encourage you to use these resources, distribute them to your networks, and share your ideas with us about how to reach as many people as possible with this message. Our freedom hangs in the balance!

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Government-run medicine threatens your medical privacy, leads to rationing

Twila Brase, President of the Citizen’s Council for Health Freedom, has an informative and disturbing essay about how government-run national health information network (NHIN) of patient data can be used by the department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to control how doctors practice.

Also, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) will develop “evidence-based” standardized medical treatment. The Independent Payment Advisory Board will use these conclusions to determine what treatments Medicare should, and should not reimburse. As Merrill Matthews notes in “Twelve Things (Still) Wrong with ObamaCare,” nominally “private” insurers are likely to follow the IPAB’s recommendations:

Because Medicare is such a large payer, its arbitrarily set prices become a benchmark for private sector insurers. In addition, private insurers often wait until Medicare agrees to cover certain therapies and prescription drugs before they do. It is probable that IPAB decisions will similarly become the benchmark for what therapies and drugs private insurers will cover and how much they will pay.

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Gov’t National Health Information Network and your medical privacy

Twila Brase of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom writes:

Eastern European hackers have stolen 780,000 people’s medical records, including 280,000 Social Security Numbers, from the Utah Department of Health. “On March 30, they downloaded 24,000 files to computers in Eastern Europe,” according to The New York Times. “Each file contained records for hundreds of recipients.” Many were children’s records, preferred because “their identity can be exploited for years.” Already the identity of “some 10 percent” of American children has been stolen. Meanwhile, a new report reveals a rise in breaches at hospitals. Specifically, 27% of respondents had experienced a security breach in the last year, up from 19% in 2010 and 13% in 2008. How vulnerable will patients be when the National Health Information Network (national medical records system) is fully in place?

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Colorado HB 12-1242 would compromise patients’ medical privacy

By requiring people to choose between health care and personal privacy, Colorado’s All-Payer Health Claims Database and the proposed HB 12-1242 are both unacceptable infringements of individual rights, write Linda Gorman & Amy Oliver (both w/ the Independence Institute) in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

On HB 12-1242, they write:

Reps. Summers and Massey, along with Sen. Betty Boyd are sponsoring HB12-1242. Under that bill, you won’t be able to get prescription medications or controlled over-the-counter medications without providing a biometric identifier like a fingerprint or a retinal scan. Failure to comply would be a Class 1 misdemeanor, a crime as serious as the possession of child pornography or third degree assault.If requiring voters to show ID is an unacceptable infringement of rights, so is requiring people to choose between health care and personal privacy. Officials who fail to repeal the APDB enable the ongoing assault on individual liberty.

Read the whole article here: Bill would compromise patients’ medical privacy.

Regarding controlled over-the-counter medications, the first one I think of is the decongestant pseudoephedrine, which federal drug warriors took off the shelves because it’s used to make meth. But as Radley Balko reports, this restriction on our liberties has questionable benefits at best.

(Balko article via FIRM)

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Your medical privacy at risk: CO’s All Payer Claims Database

Amy Oliver of the Independence Institute writes:

Colorado’s APCD [All Payer Claims Database] is a disaster waiting to happen and makes a mockery of transparency, which is intended for citizens to watch government not the other way around. Among civil libertarians, the Independence Institute was the lone defender of your medical privacy.

Fortunately for Coloradans, the database is behind schedule.  It was supposed to be operational by summer 2011. That has been delayed until December 2011. Enjoy your medical privacy while it lasts. As supporters claim, they cannot “manage” your health care, unless they can “measure” it.

Read her whole post: Spotlight on your private medical records.

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Colorado among states with opt-out options for health information exchanges

On June 9 the Maine legislature voted to allow individuals to opt-out of having their medical records shared in a health information exchange (HIE). Although initially introduced with a consent requirement, the bill was passed and signed into law with an opt-out provision instead.
Opt-out, or dissent, laws allow data collection and sharing unless individuals remove themselves from the system; the burden is on patients. Consent laws prohibit all data collection and sharing unless individuals choose to opt into the system; the burden is on doctors and facilities. Last year during a meeting of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, Judy Faulkner from Epic Systems said the policy about opt-in versus opt-out “should be based on evidence, not on the ‘vocal minority’ of privacy activists,” according to the Westside Public Relations blog.
Maine’s new law requires all health care practitioners and facilities to provide each patient the following:
  • Information on the state-designated statewide HIE, including risks and benefits of participation;
  • A description of how and where to obtain more information about the HIE and how to contact it;
  • An opportunity for the patient to decline participation in the HIE, and
  • A declaration that the practitioner and facility may not deny treatment based solely on the provider’s or patient’s decision not to participate in the HIE.
The new law also requires the HIE to establish a secure website that allows patients to opt out, consent to participate if they had previously opted out, and request information on who has accessed their records and when.
Maine joins other states in allowing patients to opt out of health information exchanges, including Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, and South Carolina. Tennessee’s HIE Operational Plan allows providers to decide whether to use the opt-in or the opt-out approach. Most have elected to enroll their patients without their express consent. Vermont switched from opt-out to opt-in.
Minnesota has a partial opt-out provision. The HIE is allowed to use a record locator service (RLS) to electronically locate and list the location of the various medical records of each patient without patient consent. However, under state law, health care providers may not view the computerized list of locations without patient consent. Nothing in state law requires that consent to be written or informed.
Sources:
“An Act To Ensure Patient Privacy and Control with Regard to Health Information Exchanges,” (Public Law, Chapter 373), State of Maine, Signed June 16, 2011.
“EHR Policy: Opt-In or Opt-Out,” Westside PR Blog, July 22, 2010.
Tennessee Health Information Exchange: Operational Plan, Version 2.0 (Submitted to Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) June 7, 2010), p. 124.
Participating Health Care Provider Policies and Procedures,” Vermont Information Technlogy Leaders [HIE for Vermont] November 22, 2010.

* The newsletter is not on the CCHF’s site yet, but will be here.

Further reading:

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