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Medical Record Pornography

Imagine typing your name into Google's image search engine; in the ensuing list, Google returns thumbnail pictures of your every X-ray radiograph, high-res cavity-congested dental photograph, and scans of your doctor's every chart-note of every prostate or gynecologic examination. One click produces the original document in high-resolution, crimson-cheek detail.
Medical Record Pornography

Imagine typing your name into Google's image search engine; in the ensuing list, Google returns thumbnail pictures of your every X-ray radiograph, high-res cavity-congested dental photograph, and scans of your doctor's every chart-note of every prostate or gynecologic examination. One click produces the original document in high-resolution, crimson-cheek detail.

Outraged, you email Google and demand it remove your private medical information. Google complies. From the medical information broker originally responsible for leaking the documents, you demand reimbursement for embarrassment, for the financial damage caused when a potential employer chose another applicant after Googling your breast cancer biopsy results, and for the harassing phone calls received from strangers who attempted to extort your medical information for money. You also demand ChoiceAnnoint purge all their remaining records attached to your name. ChoiceAnnoint does not comply.
"No reason to be embarrassed," a faceless hourly ChoiceAnnoint phone rep asserts, "the pictorial data of everybody who shares your name is also listed alongside yours."
"Besides," claims the minimum wage ChoiceAnnoint phone rep, reading from a script written by corporate officers, "Our company is a victim too. We didn't willingly divulge your private medical information. We were hacked!"
Undaunted, you make three more long distance phone calls before finally reaching ChoiceAnnoint management. The regional ChoiceAnnoint manager explains, "You have no right in the Bill of Rights to make such a demand. Your information is not your person."
"But it is!" you argue, "My information effects me directly. My medical and financial information represents my ability to get housing, employment, permission to travel, and healthcare. My home address and telephone information effects my ability to remain safe from crime, and unperturbed by unwanted marketing. My information literally represents my ability to live and live freely. My information is my person, protected under the Bill of Rights!"
"Take it up with the Supreme Court," click.

Even more disgruntled by the loss of control over the disposition of your private information, than the embarrassing release of the information itself, you join with public and medical associations to demand congressional action.

Everybody knows the path Bills take on Capitol Hill is greased by the interests of corporate lobbyists. Not surprisingly, rather than excise the cancer of mandatory submission of personal information to collective databases, in part because radical treatment would threaten the federal social security numeration system, and the federal hegemony over the States and populace in general, the public's call for congressional privacy mandate results in a law that regulates the free association of public internet communication. The new "Freedom of Electronic Records Patriot Privacy Act" requires Google to filter all potentially private information prior to posting it online. ChoiceAnnoint is mandated to take token actions to secure their systems and encrypt their databases of our information. One year later, all private medical records of every U.S. citizen are again posted online, after another private search engine mines data stolen by a new decryption technology. Outraged, citizens wonder if the internet itself should "just be shut down".

Whereas today we worry about the privacy of our financial information, the nightmare scenario related above is less than ten years from reality. A few months ago, President Bush announced a campaign to compel hospitals and medical professionals to convert, within ten years, every American's medical record to a digital format fit for internet transmission and storage. Ostensibly to organize our medical system into an efficient arrangement less prone to errors by misinterpreted physician handwriting, electronic medical records in truth represent a cost-savings scheme to lighten a national system crushed by the inefficiency of Medicare and Medicaid - two terribly wasteful federal agencies which burden physicians and hospitals under a deluge of needless paperwork. The inefficiency of Medicare and Medicaid, in-turn require the adoption of electronic medical records. The federal antidote for the poison of federal bureaucracy forever seems to be poison of a new flavor. Decentralized internet communication is not the problem to be regulated. Centralized systems in general are prone to attack, abuse, takeover, and inefficiency. Recent, massive security breaches at financial information brokers prove that centralized, public databases of private information are the problem, not the solution. Centralized government didn't work in the Soviet Union; centralized government isn't working in the United States. Likewise, collective health care has ruined our once affordable, self-governing health care arrangement.
Rather than outlaw the operation of ChoiceAnnoint, and other information brokers, and return to fee-for-service medicine, while leaving medical records in whatever form medical professionals and their patients choose is best, politicians prodded by corporate lobbyists continue to push for the adoption of electronic medical records. To combat high prices caused by their own federal programs, politicians enact even more inefficient socialized medical schemes, such as the Medicare Drug "Benefit", sure to further inflate prices for the end consumer, and multiply profits for the corporate supplier.

Politicians concerned about internet pornography should place their puritan interests above corporate campaign money, and see to it today, that the only naked X-rays viewed online tomorrow, will be the X-rays of a deceased executive campaign for electronic medical records and backdoor socialized medicine. Every American should sensibly oppose despotic political initiatives designed in contradiction to the spirit of natural human rights, codified in the Bill of Rights, promoted by non-human legal entities called health-care corporations and public information brokers.

One hundred years ago, fee-for-service medicine brought affordable health care into our homes. The law of supply and demand hasn't changed. Prices will drop to a level the average person can afford, when third party payers are removed from the equation. Fee-for-service, a la carte medicine will again bring affordable, competent, hands-on care into the homes of every American, and bring every American into the offices of doctors and other professionals who possess today's best technology, and techniques. The public must be brave enough to take the first step. We must be responsible for our own health care; not demand third party payers cover our every eyeglass and pharmacy prescription.

The United States will return to her former status as a model nation leading the world in health care, with the resources and medical professional's time to actively assist people in nations not so fortunate, when we stop burning our wealth at the alter of inefficient paper bureaucracies and dangerous, centralized corporations.


homepage: homepage: http://home.comcast.net/%7Exysterxxavier/index1.html

Bullshit alert 19.Jun.2005 20:26

George Bender

"collective health care has ruined our once affordable, self-governing health care arrangement."

My, you're just full of misinformation, aren't you? I don't want centralized medical records either and the scheme should be stopped, but this has nothing to do with Medicare and Medicaid which are much more efficient than commercial corporate medical insurance.

Medical costs have been pushed up much faster than inflation because drug companies, hospitals and insurance companies can charge whatever they want to and get away with it. The drug companies are making huge profits. Insurance companies have very high administrative costs because of their inefficiency, and they're the ones that are causing the paperwork hassle. It's corporations that are getting hacked, not the feds.

We need to slap some price controls on the drug companies and hospitals. We should abolish corporate medical insurance and replace it with a single-payer national health insurance program, paid for out of our taxes. This would drastically cut down on administrative costs and the money saved could go to healthcare instead of corporate beaurocrats.

Medicare and Medicaid are needed to protect those of us who cannot otherwise afford medical care. You will take them away literally over our dead bodies. When you try to blame the high cost of medical care on Medicare and Medicaid you are simply furthering the rightwing agenda of the rich people and the corporations, who hate government programs that give the common folk some alternative to being under the absolute control of the rich.

Most records of any kind are already computerized, and eventually they all will be because it's more efficient. To protect our medical records and all other records we should make it illegal for businesses to ask for or record our social security number, which is what is being used to tie all of our records together. We shouldn't have to give our number to anyone except government agencies and employers, and employers should be required to actually hire us before getting the number.

Criminal penalties 20.Jun.2005 11:28

Bison Boy

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides fearsome criminal penalties for unintentional or intentional release of medical records. The privacy and security sections of that law are now in effect, and they mandate that providers take steps to keep the information confidential.

If you google and find your medical record on the web, report it to the office of civil rights enforcement. It's a pretty good bet that someone will go to jail because of it.

It's not perfect; I'm sure that soem records will be disclosed. But the situation is VASTLY better than it would be without HIPAA in force.