Don’t Get Old.

by Chris Markham. 0 Comments

As you grow older and have more health issues, the only thing a pharmacy would likely prescribe to you under Obama care is a bullet. Just kidding.
Now, I know my vision of this specific dystopian future may be a bit ahead of its time. But a new proposed regulation from the Department of Health and Human Services could make my kind of funny vision a reality in a very disturbing way. The HHS is attempting to figure out how to streamline insurance and medical records of every man woman and child in the United States. To that end, the HHS proposes the records do one of three things: 1) go to the federal government in one big repository; 2) go to all 50 state governments, with the ability for the feds to dip into them any time it wants, or 3) basically keep the system as it is now, with the understanding that if State and/or federal government wants the records, it, or they, will receive them.
This is the first step to my nightmare scenario.
If the federal government or the state governments get a hold of everyone’s medical records, game over. The governments, in conjunction with the medical industry and the insurance companies will be able to make informed decisions about what kind of treatment, if any, the new health care regime would be willing to provide patients. You need a liver transplant? The doctor would contact HHS to determine if such a surgery would be feasible; the government would then discuss the rationale of the procedure with the insurance companies, and, after a decision is made, you may or may not get the treatment. And with any governmental decision, there would likely be an appeal process, but usually the time frames for the government response are fungible at best. So, if you appeal the decision – depending on the severity of your affliction – you could have already passed on by the time the appeal is heard, let alone ruled upon.
Chances are, if you’re relatively old and/or inform (read: can’t work and pay taxes), I would have to imagine the treatment would be denied. Why use tax dollars to funds pointless projects? (interesting, this line of inquiry – what with the amount of pork congress brings home every year, I’m certain there are “projects” less pointless than saving human lives). Thus, you get prescribed the bullet. They should just call it the “Old Yeller” health plan.
But this compilation of insurance records is an early step in making my dystopian dream come true. However, there is another consideration that must come into play – HIPAA. A number of years ago, the government passed HIPAA into law to ensure that Americans would have at least a modicum of assurance that their health care records would be private. If you don’t put your spouse or your parents on your HIPAA form, why would you ever include the federal or state governments? The sole purpose of HIPAA is to keep your medical records private. If said records are sent to the government, that privacy would no longer exist.
Now, hopefully, Obama care, as it currently exists, is not going to be much of a factor going forward. It’s going to be gutted and amended and twisted until it no longer resembles what was originally passed. While, in my opinion, that’s a good thing, this rulemaking by HHS could act as an end around any changes that could be down the pike. Sure, we don’t need nationalized health care right now, but we can certainly create a centralized repository of medical records just in case, you know, we need them. Right. Who’s fooling who?
Thankfully, there is a public comment process for these types of rulemakings. Call your Congressman, send a written comment that this is a bad idea, or just be annoyed at how the government is getting too involved in our lives, and, as it would appear, our deaths.


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