Public Health Rails Against Patient Privacy

The public emphatically supports the right of patient privacy. A 1993 Harris poll found that 97% of respondents believed in the importance of protecting the confidentiality of individual medical records, with 36% classifying such protection as "absolutely essential." Patients know that inappropriate or malicious use of medical information can be devastating: marriages shattered, jobs lost, insurance denied, political campaigns crushed.

M.D. Confidential

Public awareness about outside access to private medical records is having a clinical affect.clinical impact of growing public awareness about outside access to private medical records. Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., current president of the American Medical Association put it well when she told Nightingale News in 1996, "These days, insurance companies don't want summaries; they want the whole record. So I think twice about what I include. Then I hope I can remember it all...If patients fear that what they tell me could come back to haunt them, they'll tend to be less forthright. I may come up with the wrong treatment because I was chasing the wrong clues."

WHO's Hidden Agenda

The World Health Organization (WHO) didn't blink twice before shooting down the United States' world-class health-care system. In a recently released report, "The World Health Report 2000--Health Systems: Improving Performance," the WHO ranked the overall performance of the U.S. health system at 37th out of 191 countries surveyed.

Medical Savings Accounts

Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) are either tax-free or post-tax accounts which receive deposits of funds from employers or individuals that are used to pay for medical expenses. The MSA is attached to a high deductible insurance policy that is chosen by the individual. MSAs are little known because of political opposition, the desire of Congress to force the pooling of all health care dollars into HMOs, and a 1996 law enacting limited and restrictive MSA regulations which discourage marketing by insurers.

Government-Supported Group Advocates Federal Reach into Doctor's Office

Xerox Prepares to Free Employees from Limited Insurance Options

In a powerful act of courage that opposes conventional practice, Xerox officials have proposed putting employees in charge of their own health insurance within seven years. Xerox plans to give at least $5000 to each of their 50,000 employees so they can purchase a portable customized insurance policy. A portion of the money must be used for insurance, and would therefore be tax-exempt, but the remainder would be taxable cash compensation.

Letter to Physician from the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Revenue

Before MinnesotaCare, health care providers bore the cost of caring for Minnesotans who could not afford medical insurance, either by absorbing costs themselves, or by charging their insured patients higher fees. This, in turn, affected the premiums paid by insured Minnesotans, as insurers passed on the higher fees to their policyholders.

Government: A Wedge Between Patient and Doctor

The answer to fear and conflict lies in this principle: "He who holds the gold makes the rules." Until patients regain individual control and management of their health care dollars, outside administrative decisions and financial conflicts of interest will threaten medical judgment.

HMOs' Rise Driven by Government, Not Market

Dissatisfaction with HMOs has led some to call for increased regulation of the HMO industry. Government officials express concern for patient protection and access to health care. Yet government action did much to encourage the spread of HMOs'and government action continues to steer people into HMOs.

Psychological Testing in Schools

Referring to a 1986 newspaper expose': "It took four years, an audit of Pennsylvania's federal funding links to the EQA [Educational Quality Assessment], and a series of threats and counterthreats between federal and Pennsylvania education officials over the particulars of the funding, before state testing authorities finally admitted to the public that the EQA was, in fact, a psychological testing instrument and that it violated several of the seven protected areas under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, passed in 1978, sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch." (page 11)