Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts in Health Care

This week on Moyers & Company, a special report on a two-week, 185-mile trek through the winter cold in New Hampshire, led last month by constitutional scholar and activist Lawrence Lessig, to raise awareness of the crippling problem of corruption in American politics.

“If you think about every single important issue America has to address. If you’re on the right and you care about tax reform or addressing the issues of the deficit. On the left if you care about climate change or real health care reform. Whatever the issue is, if you look at the way our system functions right now you have to see that there will be no sensible reform given the way we fund campaigns,” Lessig says.

Inspired by Doris “Granny D” Haddock’s march across America, Lessig says his movement, New Hampshire Rebellion, is encouraging voters to ask all the presidential candidates who soon will be haunting the Granite State: How are you going to end the system of corruption in Washington?


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10/30/13 – Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) went head-to-head with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Wednesday afternoon over Republicans’ continued efforts to discredit President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Blitzer strained to figure out what the GOP’s next steps will be on the issue, especially if the website issues are resolved and enrollment picks up speed. “Do you want to try to make it better, to fix it, or do you just want to destroy it?” he asked. “What I want is the finest possible health care for America that we can have,” Bachmann insisted. “We did have fabulous health care, and I think we can again.”

At this point, Blitzer interrupted the congresswoman, reminding her that “a lot of people didn’t have fabulous health care. There were millions of people who had no health care.”

She responded that what President Obama is currently promoting is “fantasy health care” before listing off the various “promises” the president made that she believes he’s failed to keep. Bachmann then touted her “fiscal conservative” credentials by saying that rather than force insurance companies to cover patients with preexisting conditions, she would urge the Treasury Department to write a yearly $5 billion check to pay for those individuals.

Earlier in the interview, Bachmann contended that Obama “didn’t work with one Republican” when constructing the Affordable Care Act, a claim Blitzer disputed by emphasizing that “he tried, but the Republicans didn’t want to work with him, they didn’t like his ideas.”

Bachmann admitted that sooner or later, the HealthCare.gov website “will work,” adding, “f it doesn’t, it will be the laughingstock of America.” But, she said, “the bigger problem is a health care system that won’t work.”

When Blitzer showed her poll numbers that demonstrate that people “are beginning to like” the health care law a bit more, Bachmann rejected the data. “Not in my district, they aren’t,” she said. “People are upset about it.”


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Mina Kim, reporter for KQED News and Ryan Gabrielson, senior reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting who led the investigation into this story join host Michael Krasny for this important story.

State regulators have been conducting “cursory and indifferent” investigations of complaints against caregivers for the elderly, disabled and sick, even when those cases involve suspected abuse or suspicious death, according to an investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED. Documents obtained by CIR also reveal the California Department of Public Health dismissed nearly 1,000 pending cases of abuse and theft over the past decade, when the state was dealing with a backlog of cases.

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larry page

Larry Page has announced that Americans should stop worrying over keeping their medical records private. He claims that the only legitimate reason not to disclose the information is fear of being denied medical insurance. Unfortunately, Page lives in a world unlike 99% of Americans who have everything to fear if their private medical information was released.

“At least in my case I feel I should have done it sooner and I’m not sure that answer isn’t true for most people, so I ask why are people so focused on keeping your medical history private?”

Page doesn’t have to worry about his employer firing him if they find out about medical ailments that he may have. For most Americans, once an employer finds out that you’re going to cost them a lot of money or your illness/ailment might one day prevent you from performing your job, you will be let go. They won’t give you a reason. They don’t have to. But, if they know your medical condition, they will find a reason.

The Google CEO guessed most people are guarded about their medical history because of insurance reasons.

“You’re very worried that you’re going to be denied insurance. That makes no sense, so maybe we should change the rules around insurance so that they have to insure people,” he said to a round of applause.

The ACA is already doing this. You’re put into a higher risk pool and, starting next year, everyone must have health insurance and no one can be denied. Maybe Page, and the entire room that applauded, need to pay more attention to the news.

Page spoke of a frustration with laws that were preventing Google from doing some experiments. Health records was just one such area where legal restrictions ultimately led to the closure of its Google Health service.

“We haven’t built mechanisms to allow experimentation. There are many things, exciting things that you could do that you just can’t do because they are illegal or they are not allowed by regulation. And that makes sense, we don’t want our world to change too fast,” he said.

Many people don’t want to discuss their medical history. It really is no one else’s business and they aren’t going to help Page and Google to open that up to scrutiny because he has an agenda and wants to conduct experiments.

Page’s condition is minor when it comes to revealing an illness. Not many people would want the world to know that they only have one testicle, have had an abortion, are infertile, have diabetes, herpes, AIDS, a family history of heart disease, Chron’s disease, mental illness, or any other host of conditions that the general public does not need to know. Many of these conditions could put a person’s employment at risk as well as making it difficult to find adequate housing.

Page admits that he doesn’t fully understand the situation. So, instead of getting up in front of the media and blurting out whatever comes to mind, he should have researched his position ahead of time. His ignorance of the situation is clear, yet he doesn’t care because he doesn’t have to worry about his own private medical situation. HIPAA may not be perfect, but it’s the best thing Americans have to protect their medical privacy. It shouldn’t be so easy to obtain because someone has an agenda and thinks everyone should think as he does.

Picture Source.

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The company is facing $1.3 million a day in fines for each day it chooses not to comply with a piece of the Affordable Care Act that was set to trigger for them on January 1. The craft store chain announced in December that, because of religious objections, they would face the fines for not providing certain types of birth control through their company health insurance.

The penalty was set to go into effect on the day the company’s new health care plan went into effect for the year.

Peter M. Dobelbower, general counsel for Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. said in a statement released through the Becket Fund that, “Hobby Lobby discovered a way to shift the plan year for its employee health insurance, thus postponing the effective date of the mandate for several months.”

The statement continued that “Hobby Lobby does not provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs in its health care plan. Hobby Lobby will continue to vigorously defend its religious liberty and oppose the mandate and any penalties.”

The simple fact is that a company should not be allowed to make any decisions, be they religious or otherwise, for its employees. If America had a single payer health care system, decoupled from their employer, these types of issues would not come up.

Telling your employees what kind of health care they are going to receive is not different from telling them what kind of car insurance they are allowed to get, where they can purchase their groceries, or what bank they can put their money in. If you don’t like the food that your employee purchases, you can simply withhold it from them until they do purchase the “correct” food.


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