If you value your privacy, it’s urgent that you realize how mandatory health insurance coverage could give others full access to your medical records.
While healthcare reform is being debated inside the Beltway and many vested interests make sure pending legislation is to their benefit, the move toward mandatory health insurance coverage will surely affect each citizen’s privacy. According to Sue Blevins, editor of Health Freedom Watch, if the government votes itself the legal authority to compel all Americans to buy health insurance, “It will have an incentive to assign [all Americans] ID numbers with which to monitor compliance with the program.”
Blevins believes the following policies are intricately connected:
- Mandatory health insurance for all Americans;
- An ID number for each American;
- Electronic medical records, which are already part of the economic stimulus plan; and
- The current HIPAA privacy rule that permits disclosure of patient records without the patient’s consent.Today, when information databases are truly money in the bank, many entities seek access to the health records of Americans. Pharmacy benefit managers now generate extra income selling the prescription records and habits of physicians. A company wishing to market medical services to diabetics, for example, need only buy those records to determine which blood sugar–lowering prescriptions are being written by which doctors and for which patients.
Health freedom—which includes the right to privacy—is critical to millions of Americans. If you currently have healthcare insurance, take the time to direct your insurer to keep your medical records offline and private.
Make sure your elected officials know your medical records should remain private until you direct to release that information. Privacy of your medical records is just as important as that of your financial records. Let’s make sure Congress knows we value our medical privacy as much as they do—after all, members of Congress are exempt from healthcare reform legislation. We deserve the same rights as our elected officials.