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Op Ed: Your Medical Privacy:
Another Obamacare Casualty
By: Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.
It was a sad day recently when a married menopausal woman was upset about her recent Pap test positive for human papilloma virus (HPV). “How could this happen?” she asked. “I have not had sex with anyone but my husband since we married 30 years ago.”
Over the past year, her husband had several trips overseas for weeks at the time. She suspected the positive HPV indicated he had been unfaithful, but when she asked him, he said “Oh it can be latent for a long time.”
I showed her my records from 2008 and 2009: Paps were HPV negative. Her newly positive HPV means her husband likely had sex with an infected person during his travels. She broke down weeping.
HPV is an increasingly prevalent sexually transmitted disease that can hit women of all ages and increases the risk of invasive cervical cancer –another reason she was upset about becoming HPV positive. She now faced hard decisions. As she left, I felt sad watching her suffer with the impact of this news on her marriage.
This kind of painful situation happens daily in doctors’ offices. Such personal and private pain should remain between the patient, physician, and family.
Should we have to reveal this to the Federal government bureacrats overseeing your health care under Obamacare? I think not. Yet Obamacare rules demand it, without the patient giving further consent to release it.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released new federal regulation that requires private health insurance companies to give the government health records of every person they insure.
Although government jargon in the HHS rules disracts from their real goal, the end result is clear: government bureaucrats would have access to the health records from all private insurance companies -- including yours—whether you want them to or not. My patients are horrified at the idea that health information so personal, and at times painful, could be released to a government database, open to anyone with access to the system. Sadly, your medical privacy is another casualty of the damage caused by Obamacare new rules and regulations governing health professionals.
Today, YOU are the owner of your medical records that reside with your personal physician. You control to whom your information is released. You can decide to pay for your medical care and not allow your doctor to release your medical information to an insurance company.
Under the new rules, the Federal government will own and control your medical records, without your giving further permision. The government will be your new “overlord” controlling your medical information on federal computers in a federal database. You will no longer control to whom your medical information is sent.
The most personal aspects of your life are slated to be sent to Washington by your private insurance carrier for all you rmedical visits. This provides individual medical data for the federally run Comparative Effectiveness Research coordinating panel of experts. This panel of government-appointed experts, copying the rationing approach in Britain, will decide what treatment is allowed for individuals, based on government criteria such as:
- cost of treatment
- effectiveness as determined by government experts
- your “quality life years” remaining.
Beyond privacy issues, there is major concern about safety of your medical information when hackers can penetrate even highly secure federal agency computers such as the Pentagon, VA and Department of Defense. Hackers stole millions of medical records from the Veterans Administration and patients were at risk for identity theft.
Such a federal medical database makes you vulnerable to loss of your health information and medical identity. David Blumenthal, M.D., the President’s former “health information czar,” admitted “No infrastructure exists in most areas of the country for secure health information exchange among providers and between providers and consumers.”
Medical privacy? The Obama administration’s health czars seem more concerned about power and control over your medical care than protection of your private medical information.
In summary, the Obamacare “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” of 2010 and the “Stimulus Bill” of 2009 gave the federal government total control of very personal aspects of your life:
- money that is currently in the private healthcare sector
- your private personal and family health information
- your access to timely medical care
- the types of treatment you will be allowed to have, based on your age and value to society.
If you value your privacy and freedom to chose your medical treatment, then you need to consider candidates in 2012 who vow to defund, dismantle, repeal and replace Obamacare with a patient-centered healthcare reform that puts freedom back into our hands as our Founders intended. Ronald Reagan warned: Socialism begins with government control of medicine.©Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. 2011
Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet
Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. is a preventive and
climacteric medicine specialist founder of Hormone Health Strategies medical
Vliet is the 2007 recipient of the Voice of Women award from the Arizona
Foundation for Women for her pioneering advocacy for the overlooked hormone
connections in women’s health. Dr. Vliet received her M.D. degree and
internship in Internal Medicine at
Dr. Vliet has appeared on
Dr. Vliet's books include: It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!; Screaming To Be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect-- And Doctors STILL Ignore; Women, Weight and Hormones; The Savvy Woman's Guide to PCOS, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Testosterone.
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DISCLAIMER: Dr. Vliet speaks as an independent physician, not as an official spokesperson for any organization. Dr. Vliet has no financial ties to any health care system, pharmaceutical company, or health insurance plan. Her allegiance and advocacy is to and for patients.