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.