A bill signed into law earlier this week by Gov. Mark Dayton allows the health department to collect and store blood samples taken from newborn babies for an indefinite period of time, unless parents opt-out of the program.
As a starting point, let me reiterate that newborn screening is the “largest single application of genetic testing in medicine,” according to Dr. Jeffrey Botkin, MD, MPH, at the university of Utah’s Department of Pediatrics and Medical Ethics. Also, I’d like to draw to your attention the written testimony submitted by the Council for Responsible Genetics, and Minnesota ACLU which both oppose this bill. The Council notes that that language is in opposition to recommendations by national committees and research studies.
It's quite simple. Our purpose is to bring care, coverage, compassion and patient control to as many individuals as possible while enabling charity and charitability for those without health insurance coverage. Echoing former AAPS president Dr. Lee Hieb's three "C's," we add two more:
The public will have no say over federal control of health insurance and medical care if the Minnesota Healthcare Exchange legislation (SF1/HF5) passes in its present form. The Exchange Board will be exempt from all the requirements that protect the public from runaway rulemaking.
Many health insurance agents fear the loss of their livelihood once government health insurance Exchanges are created and people begin to shop online. But Exchanges will not be simple. Thus, Obamacare established a new entity called “navigators” to assist individuals and businesses in buying coverage from federally-qualified health plans on the exchange. Health insurance agents will be only one of many groups allowed to become navigators.
Among the far-reaching powers granted to the seven-member MN Health Insurance Exchange board in the proposed legislation is the power to choose what health insurance plans you, the consumer who may be forced to buy insurance on the Exchange, are allowed to purchase.
The Minnesota Insurance Exchange legislation specifically defines the “Minnesota Insurance Marketplace” as a Board. This board would be a defacto state agency, signing IT contracts, accepting state appropriations, having a dedicated state account, overseeing health care across the state of Minnesota, and choosing what insurance options are available on the exchange.
Buried in the text of the Minnesota Obamacare Exchange bill (MNHIX) has a tiny but controversial section allowing free-flow sharing of all data the government has on you. It also grants them access to the date “other entities” have on you. There is no limit to the agencies that can share data. There is no limit to the data that can be shared. There is no limit with whom the data may be shared.
Although language for a "federal" health insurance exchange exists in Obama's reform law, it's essentially a bluff. The federal government never intended to create it. They don't want to create it. They didn't even give themselves money to create it.
A "newborn screening" amendment was attached to an unrelated bill (HF 2967 - Holberg) on Monday, May 7, 2012. Prior to the amendment being added, CCHF worked with Rep. Holberg and other legislators to make sure certain informed parent consent requirements and strongly-worded protections regarding newborn citizens and Baby DNA were added to the amendment.