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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Members have made 51 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Douglas Member

    My first instinct to to fill out every line with “None of your ******* business”, repeat ad nauseum. I imagine that what will happen if the feds see a lot of this is yet another tweak to Obamacare that mandates physicians refuse service to patients that refuse to answer Big Brother’s questionnaire. 

    • #1
    • December 11, 2012 at 2:40 am
  2. Profile photo of Israel P. Member
    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. · 8 hours ago

    Eyes: two. Ears: two. Nose: one. Sex: yes. Race: no.

    Actually, I take heart that they still need to ask. I had thought that they already knew everything from Google.

    • #2
    • December 11, 2012 at 3:09 am
  3. Profile photo of The Annapolitan Inactive

    I experienced the same thing on a visit to a dermatologist regarding a mole. Please fill out this form! After reading the form I noticed it said the doctor’s office was required to ask for the information…What race? More choices than there are actual racial differences.What Ethnic group? The choices were Hispanic and non- hispanic.A couple others questions, none of them related to health care.I pointed out that if they were required to ask for the info I wasn’t required to give it and I put N/A next to each one and handed it back. The lady shrugged. She said the office will be fined for not having the form filled out. I recall this bit of unpleasantness being mentioned during the healthcare debate, among other things.Yes, this is what we get for allowing the government takeover of “health care.”

    • #3
    • December 11, 2012 at 3:48 am
  4. Profile photo of Skyler Member

    It doesn’t matter what answer you give. In the military for a very long time the clerks are required to correct your answer if it appears you do not wish to respond or if you give an incorrect answer about your race or ethnicity.

    • #4
    • December 11, 2012 at 3:59 am
  5. Profile photo of Cper Member

    Our doctor told us that he now spends an additional 2 to 3 hours on paperwork after seeing patients all day. He said he is 55 and is going to try to hang in there for another 5 years or so and then retire. He sounded like he wasn’t sure he could do it.

    • #5
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:04 am
  6. Profile photo of Paul J. Croeber Member

    My wife and I were handed forms shortly after our son was born. They had a space for her weight before and after his birth and inquired whether we had firearms at home? 

    • #6
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:04 am
  7. Profile photo of Cherylyn LeBon, Guest Contributor Contributor

    I recalled it too during the debate, but I must say, when it is actually put into practice – we fully understand how our lives will dramatically change.

    Elections do have consequences..

    • #7
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:06 am
  8. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    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.

    • #8
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:07 am
  9. Profile photo of Troy Senik Editor

    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.

    • #9
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:18 am
  10. Profile photo of Cherylyn LeBon, Guest Contributor Contributor

    Yes, another friend mentioned she was asked about firearms in the home as well. You can’t tell me that this information is not going to be used in the future.

    • #10
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:18 am
  11. Profile photo of Barkha Herman Member

    What is the penalty for not answering the questions or providing incorrect data? Could I put my skin color as blue? How about eye color Yellow?

    Smoke: Yes, my pet monkey. (Are animals covered in the Government Database?)

    Databases are notoriously easy to mes up – especially Government created one.

    • #11
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:19 am
  12. Profile photo of Cherylyn LeBon, Guest Contributor Contributor

    DocJay: Thank you. Wish you were my doc!

    • #12
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:19 am
  13. Profile photo of Paul J. Croeber Member

    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.

    • #13
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:21 am
  14. Profile photo of The Mugwump Inactive

    Mary Poppins rips off the mask to reveal Nurse Rached.

    • #14
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:24 am
  15. Profile photo of John Walker Contributor

    Lie.

    Most government forms dating back to the census from the time it was first processed by computer go through a process of editing that throws out responses that don’t make any sense.

    So, your kid has 37 siblings, was born when you were 61 years old, is of mixed Pacific islander and Aleut ancestry, and has been smoking unfiltered Camels since she was three years old. Ker-plonk that form goes into the memory hole, and it’s one less thing the coercive state knows about her.

    When the prune-faced collaborator at the doctor’s office looks askance at you, stare right back and say, ideally just with a stony expression, “Are you calling me a liar?”

    This is not only effective passive resistance; it can be hugely entertaining.

    • #15
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:29 am
  16. Profile photo of flownover Inactive

    The government routinely uses the most outdated computing systems , so this information will get out immediately. The degree of care and diligence shown by most civil servants guarantee that the information will be mangled, lost, and misread at a pace only a schizophrenic could love. Staffing will go up and up, as budgets expand exponentially to handle the costs of that and the new buildings to house them all. Productivity will continue to fall. The critical nature of the task, providing healthcare efficiently to the public , will be thwarted by the plodding performance and will result in the process being privatized to a large insurance company that has great relations and is partially owned by Kathleen Sebelius. 

    something like this could take place, oops ! too late

    • #16
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:29 am
  17. Profile photo of katievs Member

    Sounds more like Big Brother than Nanny to me.

    • #17
    • December 11, 2012 at 4:46 am
  18. Profile photo of Caroline Thatcher

    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. 

    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
    • #18
    • December 11, 2012 at 5:36 am
  19. Profile photo of Pencilvania Member

    warr.jpgIf she’s part Cherokee, I’m part Creole.

    • #19
    • December 11, 2012 at 5:43 am
  20. Profile photo of ConservativeWanderer Inactive
    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 minutes 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

    And that’s all next to the refrigerator with the unpasteurized milk bought from un-BigBrother-regulated Amish farmers.

    • #20
    • December 11, 2012 at 5:44 am
  21. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    From now on, for race, I’m writing “Belmont Stakes.”

    • #21
    • December 11, 2012 at 6:15 am
  22. Profile photo of ConservativeWanderer Inactive
    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.

    • #22
    • December 11, 2012 at 6:23 am
  23. Profile photo of Cherylyn LeBon, Guest Contributor Contributor

    Yes – an important point: this is the legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren.

    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. · 8 hours ago

    • #23
    • December 11, 2012 at 6:39 am
  24. Profile photo of Cherylyn LeBon, Guest Contributor Contributor

    Ombra – I do not think that Nanny State implies humor at all. I often write about “Nanny” Mike Bloomberg and I do not find anything funny in the policies he has implemented in NYC. For me, the Nanny State implies policies with the intent of controlling people, behavior, and telling citizens how they should conduct their lives.

    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. · 8 hours ago
    • #24
    • December 11, 2012 at 6:44 am
  25. Profile photo of Cherylyn LeBon, Guest Contributor Contributor

    This is what causes some angst: patients might be refused service for not agreeing to fill out the paperwork. Or has someone mentioned in an earlier post, the docs will get fined if the patients do not comply. If that happens, one can see where the docs might pass on this inconvenience to the patients: no service, higher fees, or who knows what else..

    Douglas: My first instinct to to fill out every line with “None of your ******* business”, repeat ad nauseum. I imagine that what will happen if the feds see a lot of this is yet another tweak to Obamacare that mandates physicians refuse service to patients that refuse to answer Big Brother’s questionnaire. · 4 hours ago
    • #25
    • December 11, 2012 at 7:01 am
  26. Profile photo of Foxman Inactive
    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. · 12 hours ago

    For sex : I don’t even know you

    • #26
    • December 11, 2012 at 7:14 am
  27. Profile photo of The Annapolitan Inactive

    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.

    • #27
    • December 11, 2012 at 7:18 am
  28. Profile photo of ConservativeWanderer Inactive
    Foxman
    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. · 12 hours ago

    For sex : I don’t even know you · 1 minute ago

    Actually, having worked in the medical industry for years, there are valid medical reasons for them to inquire about your gender.

    For example, for some blood tests, there are different “normal” levels for men and women, and the lab needs to know that so they’re reporting the right information.

    Or, one that we laughed at quite often in the lab, if you have a pregnancy test coming in on a patient labeled as a male, you can be pretty sure the doctor’s office made a mistake somewhere, so you can call and get it straightened out before actually running the test on the sample provided.

    I’m not aware of any such test that differs according to ethnic group, though I could be wrong.

    • #28
    • December 11, 2012 at 7:20 am
  29. Profile photo of Cherylyn LeBon, Guest Contributor Contributor

    Our doc said the same: he will be spending more time with paperwork, and less time with his patients.

    Cper: Our doctor told us that he now spends an additional 2 to 3 hours on paperwork after seeing patients all day. He said he is 55 and is going to try to hang in there for another 5 years or so and then retire. He sounded like he wasn’t sure he could do it. · 3 hours ago
    • #29
    • December 11, 2012 at 7:49 am
  30. Profile photo of Fake John/Jane Galt Member

    I work in IT specializing in automatic data transfer between dissimilar systems. In layman speak I move data between places. While I would like to blame Obama the truth is that the government has been requiring private companies to collect and report an ever increasing amount of “statistical” information to government agencies since the mid 90s. This trend greatly increased after 9/11, again under Sarbane Oxley, Dodd-Frank and greatly increased under Obamacare legislation. About any major piece of legislation that congress passes has a “statistical” monitoring component.

    Somebody here mentioned giving incorrect data or bad data. That is fine, but the point is that the automation systems kick out exception reports for items are outside expected acceptable ranges for problem resolution and human intervention. If you do not want to be noticed then I suggest lying, but do so by giving the answer they want to hear. So answer no to firearms, no to smoking, etc. Remember being different is bad. 

    • #30
    • December 11, 2012 at 8:19 am
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