How Obama Will Control Doctors

September 10, 2014

 
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Electronic health records (EHRs) are the foundation of Obamacare. The 2009 HITECH Act (part of the Recovery Act, or ARRA) mandated government-certified interoperable EHRs and provided up to $36.5 billion to subsidize the cost of initial computerization. Already $24.8 million has been spent.
 
Doctors and hospitals that refuse to comply, or refuse “meaningful use” of the EHRs, face financial penalties starting January 1, 2015. Headlines underscore the intrusions available through HIPAA, HITECH and EHRs:
 
  • “Scientists Embark on Unprecedented Effort to Connect Millions of Patient Medical Records” – The Washington Post, April 15, 2014
  • “The 8 Commandments of Meaningful Use Penalties…” – HITECHAnswers, August 26, 2013
  • “Big Medical Groups Begin Patient Data-Sharing Project,” – The New York Times, April 6, 2011.
 
Government cannot control what government cannot see. Once officials, and their HealthPlan collaborators, can track the private details of patients and the treatment decisions of physicians, they are empowered to ration health care according to lifestyles, age, disability, behaviors, political views, genetics, wealth and more.
 
One panelist at a recent event I attended in Washington D.C. said the EHR is the only model they have to try to contain costs. Politico reports, “Without freer data exchange, say those who should know, the electronic health records won’t lead to the kind of health care improvements and cost controls sought under the Affordable Care Act and the 2009 HITECH Act.” (July 25, 2014)
 
 
Congress began the intrusion in 1996 with HIPAA. Obama added the 2009 HITECH Act. Together these laws provide your data to 2.2 million entities, including government, researchers and 1.5 million “business associates.” After ARRA passed, one Harvard professor told The Washington Post:
 
“Finally, we’re going to have access to millions and millions of patient records online.”
 
On July 21, 2014, POLITICO reported, “An emerging trend is to add ‘behavioral’ data—what the patient does outside the doctor’s office” to the medical record. Lancaster General Hospital recently testified that they “are piloting integration for fitness trackers, and advanced remote monitoring to directly collect biometric data.” Now the new Apple Watch, “a comprehensive health and fitness device,” will collect your health data.
 
Surveillance capabilities are growing rapidly. According to the Boston Globe, “From 2008 to 2013, the percent of US doctor’s offices with electronic health records rose from 17 to 48 percent. Growth in hospitals was even more dramatic, from 13 to 70 percent.”
 
What can you do to stop Obama’s tool of control? Tell state legislators to add patient consent requirements to state law. Under HIPAA, state privacy laws rule. Also, find a doctor who refuses to share your data. Tell them to stick with paper records or a non-interoperable EHR. Don’t wear tracking devices. Consider transitioning from insurance to health sharing. Pay cash for most transactions so hospitals can’t profile you. And tell Congress to shut down the national EHR surveillance system by repealing HIPAA.
 
Working to stop government intrusion and control,
 
Twila Brase,
President and Co-founder