Obama's New Medical Snooping Program
Washington's Massive Bio-Surveillance System?
The federal government is moving forward with a broad bio-surveillance system. Under this plan, federal officials will gain real-time access to your private medical records. All in the name of national security.
It’s called the National Health Security Strategy.
The name sounds pretty harmless. But the plan is anything but.
The draft of this plan calls for greater “health situational awareness.” It’s meant to minimize the affects of any health related emergency. At least that’s its stated goal.
But to do that, it gives the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to monitor your behavior before, during, and after a health incident. And mind you, the incident could be as minor as an outbreak of the flu.
The end game is a real-time collaboration between doctors and government officials. Your private medical data will be shared any time a government agency asks for it.
That’s scary enough. The scope of the data they’re collecting should send chills down your spine.
According to Twila Brase, the founder of Citizens Council for Health Freedom, the data is all encompassing. It includes, “what our health status is, whether we exercise, how often we get a cold, or what kind of medications we’re taking.”
The feds want access to your most personal details.
The Hidden Danger of Bio-Surveillance
The Health Information Privacy rule (HIPAA) was actually the first step toward full government bio-surveillance.
Under HIPAA, your doctor cannot share your health information with anyone without your permission except public health officials. When it comes to the government, HIPAA permits disclosure of your personal health information without notifying you of what’s happening.
The privacy violation here is huge.
But there’s another problem with the government amassing this amount and detail of health information on the public.
They plan to make the data available to government-approved researchers. Now think for a minute. What if the government starts using this data in research to support its own public health policies?
If no other scientists have access to the same data, there will be no way to confirm or counter the government’s conclusions.
If the government plans for bio-surveillance continue, we could find ourselves on the wrong end of government health policies with no rational way to argue against them. We’d have no real recourse.
Not only is your privacy at stake, but the level of government control over your body is also hanging in the balance.
More Government Say Over Your Treatment Options
Another frightening scenario to consider …
Under complete bio-surveillance, the government will know how often you get sick. It will know about your eating, drinking, and exercise habits. It will be aware of your family medical history.
Isn’t it reasonable to think that, under Obamacare and with access to all this information, the government will want to have some say in what treatment options are available to you should you get sick?
This is scary stuff, folks. And the bio-surveillance program is moving forward. The HHS plans to publish the National Health Security Strategy early next year. At that point, the plan will become policy.
Protect Your Medical Privacy
Frankly, seeking medical care and protecting your medical privacy from the government have basically become mutually exclusive. The HIPAA rule has seen to that. If the government wants your medical records, it will get them. And you won’t be notified.
So what can you do?
First, you can limit your amount of exposure. Try to keep your dealings with the healthcare system limited to one doctor, one hospital, and one pharmacy.
Second, you can discuss your concerns with your doctor and request to alter your signed HIPAA agreement. Ask to include language that your doctor will notify you in the event that your records were released to a government agency. This won’t prevent the release of your records, but at least you’ll know what’s happening.
Third, you can stop going to the doctor except when it’s really necessary. Do visit your doctor at least once a year for an annual check up — that’s important to catching developing problems as early as possible. But for routine illnesses like a cold or the flu, treat them the old-fashioned way … with rest and a lot of fluids. Seek help from your doctor only if warning signs develop like if the illness persists longer than expected or you develop difficulty breathing.
It was bad enough when we learned that the NSA is keeping track of our call records in massive databases. Now it turns out the government has plans to do the same with our most private, health records. My final bit of advice is to contact your representative in Congress and your senators and let them know what you think of this nonsense.
It’s time to speak up about these ridiculous, out-of-hand privacy violations… while we still have the right to do so.