Our New Reality

 

Last week, I took my daughter to the pediatric ophthalmologist, a physician she has seen for several years.

Upon arrival, the receptionist gave me three additional forms to fill out. These were not the usual address update forms, but paperwork requiring specific demographic information. I wondered why my daughter’s eye doctor needed to know the color of our skin.

Next, the doctor came into the examination room and proceeded to ask me a series of questions, all invasive, such as “Does anyone smoke in the home?” and a few others along those lines. I said to my good Republican doctor – “What gives? Why do you need to need know whether or not I smoke?” 

He said that the forms contained new requirements under Obamacare. That additional data, he explained, is collected and then entered into a “government database.”

I mentioned this to several friends in an e-mail conversation and, to my surprise, this is developing into a pattern. A friend in Pennsylvania took her twin boys to the pediatrician and was asked similar questions. Another friend in Virginia thought she was having informal girlfriend chat with her physician and suddenly realized that her doctor was writing everything down.

If the government requires doctors to ask more invasive questions, and our private information is being recorded and entered into some government database, there are troubling implications. Does anyone remember HIPPA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which addressed security and privacy of health data? A lot of time and money was spent passing HIPPA, but I question its effectiveness in the era of Obamacare.  

A government database does not enhance a feeling of security with respect to my, or my family’s, private medical data. Government has a spotty record of keeping confidential information out of the wrong hands. I do not want my medical information to be the target of some overeager hacker who wants to make a big score and get bragging rights by cracking the code of the federal government’s huge medical information database.

If my visit to my daughter’s ophthalmologist is any indication, we’re heading towards a future of more paperwork, less time spent between doctors and patients, and more invasive questions being dumped into a  “government database.”

Welcome to the Nanny State – it has arrived.

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor
    @CherylynLeBonGuestContributor
    ConservativeWanderer

    Percival: From now on, for race, I’m writing “Belmont Stakes.” · 6 minutes ago

    Say “Cherokee.”

    If they challenge you, say that if Elizabeth Warren can be Cherokee, so can you. · 1 hour ago

    Exactly. We can play that game too.

    • #31
  2. Profile Photo Contributor
    @CherylynLeBonGuestContributor

    Here comes the Nanny state. If I put safety mechanisms in place for the trampoline, why can’t I have one in MY backyard for MY kids? You can attach a some type of netting on the sides so the kids will not fall off – I am told…

    Caroline: Right beside the trampoline.  The other day a friend was told by her daughter’s pediatrician that they may want to get rid of the trampoline. Too risky.  · 2 hours ago

    Paul J. Croeber: I was thrown by the firearm question.  I should have answered that I keep them at the bottom of my unfenced rooftop pool accessible only by open staircase. · 38 minutes ago

    • #32
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    @CherylynLeBonGuestContributor

    That’s a good point. You do feel somewhat uncomfortable not answering the forms and you certainly do not want it to impact the quality of service in any way.  

    The Annapolitan: Just a note…in the form I was handed there were only check boxes for race, ethnicity, etc. Certainly you can refuse to answer but most people feel intimidated doing that. The offense is made by suggesting the questions need to be answered to get service. Like the states are doing regarding implementation of the Insurance Exchanges of Obamaare – saying No Thanks, you go ahead – individuals should do the same regarding these intrusive forms which are totally unrelated to health care. DO NOT ANSWER! But politely. · 1 hour ago

    • #33
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    @RobertELee

    I’m surprised the lawyers haven’t chimed in here.  It is against the law to lie to the federal government.  It’s against the law to lie to someone who will then provide that information to the federal government.

    I was recently given a handful of forms when going to a podiatrist for a painful toe joint and they wanted to know my medical history and that of my parents and siblings.  I handed in the forms, suitably edited.  I was told that I had to fill them out because it was the law.  I responded, no, it wasn’t the law, take them or don’t.

    The doctor said he would not treat me without at least my medical information filled out, so we compromised that far.

    The doctor also said he wasn’t going to pay me $60 for filling out the forms (I billed him in response to the warning his office posted that if they had to fill out forms there would be a charge of $10 per form) but he did ask if he could frame the bill and post it in his office.

    • #34
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    @Sisyphus

    In his first week or two in office, Obama went after two things. He pushed through $600M for this vile federal “medical” database and he sought to force the liability for service-related injuries onto private medical insurance carriers.

    This is the sort of wholesale invasion that Romney chided Santorum was not worth fighting over in the debates. And that Boehner quickly pronounced the law of the land after winning back his majority, through no fault of his own. These moral outrages have been brought to you by the Parties of Washington, whom President Washington would scatter in contempt before him.

    This is the legacy of our generation to our descendants. 

    Elections mean things. 

    • #35
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    @Ombra

    I’ve recently experienced the new requests for information.  We will now get to play Soviet citizen, getting our kicks by lying to our government keepers. Additional taxes, additional information, additional intrusion will lead to lawlessness. And I dislike the phrase “Nanny State”. It provides a gloss of humor where there is none. This is the beginning. Half of the Country has asked for more government, whether or not they know it, and all of us are going to be forced to eat the bitter fruit.

    • #36
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    @skipsul

    And we can all watch as the news media happily ignore this too.f

    The guns and smoking questions are especially worrisome, but there have been harbingers of this for years now.

    Just disgusting.

    • #37
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    @PConn

    I work for one of the three biggest EHR(health care record) software companies in the US and Canada. I can tell you that we had to re-route a whole division of our company just to deal with Healthcare mandates. Even in Canada, we have never had to do this before. Resources that were dedicated to advancing our technology have been subverted to dealing with Obamas whims. I love my company, Ive been there for 13 years. I hate what Liberals have finally succeeded in forcing us to be. We dont develop software. We now develop compliance methods. We develop the best way to get cash from the machine. And, honestly, we arent even close to the best one(who is one of Obama’s most frequent visitors).

    Rent seekers and cronies move to the front. Innovators wait to see what the latest HITSP spec is so they dont get put out of business.

    • #38
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    @donaldtodd

    When we exchanged God for government, we went from Someone Who knows us intimately to something that wants to know something about us intimately.  Welcome to the brave new world.

    I would not incur the penalties, or taxes for giving misinformation.  It is not worth it.

    If your doctor is being turned into a clerk, and is due to make substantially less money to the point where he or she will soon be moving on to something at least remotely profitable, or moving to a place (outside the US) where he or she can actually make a living doing what they worked so hard to master, you’ll have the privilege of doing this additional paperwork repeatedly.  

    • #39
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    @Bye

    I still think the best way to get rid of Obamacare is to highlight the fact that it is a de facto overturn of Roe v. Wade.

    The Roe v. Wade decision was based on the “Right to Privacy” and the idea that the government didn’t have a compelling interest in intervening between the doctor and the patient on behalf of the fetus.

    The government now has a compelling interest in all medical procedures.

    The emanations and penumbras of the Right to Privacy are now gone.

    Hey, ACLU: do I have a Right to Privacy when I’m at the doctor?

    • #40
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Last week, I took my daughter to the pediatric ophthalmologist, a physician she has seen for several years.

    I see what you did there Cherylyn.  Clever.

    • #41
  12. Profile Photo Member
    @

    By the way, for those keeping track of the degree to which “ObamaCare is just like the Canadian Medical System”:

    1. It’s not.
    2. Doctors do not ask demographic information.  In no case is such information linked to a patient’s file except for medical reasons (genetic predisposition to certain disorders, etc.)
    3. We do not … repeat do not! … have a national medical system.  RomneyCare was closer in spirit:  each province has its own medical insurance system, with its own features, payment system and coverage.
    4. There is “pretty good” sharing of information across services but there must be express or implied patient consent for information to be passed on.  There is no central database.  I’d like to see ease of information transfer improved, with at the same time an iron grip on the rights and control over who gets  that information guaranteed by statute to the patient.
    5. You’ve yet to learn what line-ups are like.  Brace yourselves.  It’s everything from inconvenient and annoying to fatal.  
    6. One nice thing about ObamaCare:  thousands of Doctors who went to the U.S. over the years, fed up with our system, might soon be coming home.
    • #42
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @

    I was shocked, when I lived in the U.S. for 4 years, how everyone seems to be put into a demographic box.  I had thought it was bad in Canada, but the level of obsession over whether one is black, white,  hispanic  or other was startling.  These questions were routinely asked in places where, in Canada it would have been considered a breach of privacy, and in some cases simply illegal.  And this was 15 years ago.  Sounds like it’s about to get worse.

    • #43
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Troy Senik, Ed.: FYI, this is also happening in higher education. A friend is the president of a private, religious university and he has noted the sharp increase in paper-work fishing for this kind of demographic information (there’s a noticeable trend of religious schools being asked how many gay employees they have, for instance).

    The predominant fear of independent universities is that this is the thin end of the wedge for a wave of federal action against private universities where their freedom to hire who they please is attacked on anti-discrimination grounds. · 7 hours ago

    Edited 7 hours ago

    We had a “voluntary disclosure” form go around here at U Manitoba and we were to send responses to an office monitoring compliance (yes, we have this too in Canada).  I simply refused to fill it in.  They did not like this at all … but talking with others I get the sense that there was a general rebellion.  One nice thing about academics:  we don’t like being treated like sheep.

    • #44
  15. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Race:  40K/ironman

    Sex:  yes please

    Eyes:  youse what?

    Say, don’t you Yanks have this think called the Fifth Amendment?  Does its principle not apply here?  does it have legal teeth in this situation (I mean with respect to any potential penalties the state might levy).  Mr. Yoo?

    • #45
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @Sisyphus
    Robert E. Lee: I’m surprised the lawyers haven’t chimed in here.  It is against the law to lie to the federal government.  It’s against the law to lie to someone who will then provide that information to the federal government.

    We are a nation of criminals. There are more laws and regulations applicable to us on this single day than a lifetime of legal scholarship could  could possibly identify, enumerate, and educate themselves. And each day there are additions.

    The least little Sisyphus is now a licensed driver. In that quest, he failed a practical exam by not stopping before turning right on a green light. The Virginia code requires a full stop prior to making the right. A room full of adult Virginia drivers was amazed at this news, and objected to a one, correctly, that such a procedure, in practice, would result in a rear end collision in short order. 

    On a more serious note, the federal tax law is a massive, disorderly assault on the civic body. Yes, compliance costs are excessive, but everyone can be found a tax criminal based on the code’s gobbledygook if that is our government’s desire.

    • #46
  17. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Percival
    Robert E. Lee: I’m surprised the lawyers haven’t chimed in here.  It is against the law to lie to the federal government.  It’s against the law to lie to someone who will then provide that information to the federal government.

    I didn’t lie.  They asked a question.  I answered a question.  They just weren’t the same question.

    • #47
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @Grendel
    ConservativeWanderer

    I’m not aware of any such test that differs according to ethnic group, though I could be wrong. · December 11, 2012 at 6:20am

    My latest lab tests give different eGFR (kidney function) scores for AA and WA.  The reference ranges are the same.  Natural rhythm wasn’t ordered by my doc, so I can’t say how that assessment is reported.

    • #48
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @ConservativeWanderer
    Grendel

    ConservativeWanderer

    I’m not aware of any such test that differs according to ethnic group, though I could be wrong. · December 11, 2012 at 6:20am

    My latest lab tests give different eGFR (kidney function) scores for AA and WA.  The reference ranges are the same.  Natural rhythm wasn’t ordered by my doc, so I can’t say how that assessment is reported. · 13 minutes ago

    Interesting. I honestly didn’t know that one.

    • #49
  20. Profile Photo Member
    @TheRightNurse
    DocJay: I do not administer such forms nor do I have any intention.    The only reason your skin color would matter might be related to certain genetic predispositions to diseases.  There are financial penalties if you’re part of system and don’t follow government protocols.    It’s almost like they are training offices to be subservient to the government and not serving the patient.  Disgusting.

    I got one such form and and it had the firearms question for a visit to the pediatrician.  I wrote, not only at home but on me right now. · December 10, 2012 at 3:07pm

    Edited on December 10, 2012 at 3:10pm

    The firearms question is particularly disturbing; it asks about a fundamental protected right.  I know how it is a risk factor in the home, however, there are other risk factors that are much more common and would be more useful to assess (Does anyone in the home take any narcotics?  Are these out of reach?). 

    All of these questions are beyond their need to know.  However, I have to agree with Barkha Herman here.  Lie.

    Practitioners must write what is reported and cannot write their own suppositions.

    • #50
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