(Article reprinted with permission.)
Socialized Medicine: Kiss your Privacy Good Bye
by Jeff Davis
Many people don’t know that the state of Massachusetts has had a version of Obamacare since 2006 and the passage of The Massachusetts Mandated Health Insurance Law. It might be interesting to see how it’s working out in practice.
The Boston.com website reports: “Four Massachusetts community hospitals are investigating how thousands of patient health records, some containing Social Security numbers and sensitive medical diagnoses, ended up in a pile at a public dump. The unshredded records included pathology reports with patients’ names, addresses, and results of breast, bone, and skin cancer tests, as well as the results of lab work following miscarriages. By law, medical records and documents containing personal identifying information must be disposed of in a way that protects privacy, and leaving them at a dump is probably illegal, privacy lawyers and hospital officials said. Violators face steep fines. A Globe photographer discovered the records July 26 when he was dumping his trash at the Georgetown Transfer Station. When he got out of his car, he said, he saw a huge pile of paper about 20 feet wide by 20 feet long. Upset that the paper wasn’t being recycled, he looked more closely. The photographer said he saw health and insurance records from at least four hospitals and their pathology groups — Milford, Holyoke, Carney, and Milton — mostly dated 2009. The Globe notified the hospitals. It is unclear how many other hospitals’ records might have been discarded in the dump.”
Well it sounds like you can kiss your privacy good bye. This little incident clearly indicates they don’t care. How much do you suppose a big insurance company might have paid to get those records so they would know which people have had cancer at some point, in case they move out of Massachusetts and try to buy private insurance somewhere else?
The article notes “Hospital executives and pathologists said they are distraught about the violation of patient privacy and, as required by law, are developing plans to notify the thousands of patients whose records may have been left at the dump. The hospitals said they also plan to formally notify the Massachusetts attorney general’s office; preliminary information has already been passed along. Based on that, the attorney general’s office said in a statement it is reviewing ‘whether there has been a data breach.’ ’’
Now, if this is how the government handles your health care in only one small state, how do you think they’ll do on a nationwide level? National health care systems in Britain, Canada, and all throughout Europe have become infamous for stories of unthinkable and incredible incompetence, unresponsive apathy, sloth, and just plain stupidity.
Never mind such things as the death panels and the rationing of health care, the sheer incompetence level will make it almost impossible to keep hundreds of millions of medical records secret.
To take one likely example, how long will it be before some enterprising clerk in a federal office offers medical records for sale to direct marketing companies so they can tailor their ads and e-mail spam to individual health conditions? How long before a hacker breaks into the national database and posts all your embarrassing health problems on the Internet, just because he can?
The potential for all kinds of disaster with this Obamacare business are truly mind-boggling; records security is only one of them. This one is not just going to come back to bite us on the butt, it’s going to come back and rip our hearts out.