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.

  1. 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. 

  2. Israel P.

    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.

  3. The Annapolitan

    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.”

  4. Skyler

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. Paul J. Croeber

    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? 

  7. Cherylyn LeBon, Guest 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..

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Cherylyn LeBon, Guest 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.

  11. Barkha Herman

    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.  

  12. Cherylyn LeBon, Guest Contributor

    DocJay: Thank you. Wish you were my doc!

  13. 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.

  14. The Mugwump

    Mary Poppins rips off the mask to reveal Nurse Rached. 

  15. John Walker


    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.

  16. flownover

    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

  17. katievs

    Sounds more like Big Brother than Nanny to me.

  18. 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. 

    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

  19. Pencilvania

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

  20. ConservativeWanderer
    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.

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