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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

January 15, 2014



 

Don't Trust Government on Baby DNA

Let's take a break from Obamacare for a moment. Did you know State governments keep the DNA of newborns without parent consent?  Did you know CCHF initiated a lawsuit with nine families in 2009 against Minnesota's health department for storing and using Baby DNA without parent consent?

 

All across the country, state health departments are taking newborn DNA within 48 hours of birth, and many states store it long-term for genetic and other research. Parent consent is usually not required. Hospitals prick the baby's heel, drip the baby's blood (DNA) onto a card with filter paper, and send it to the government.

 

This means the DNA of every person born in America is stored by state government for some period of time. Fully 17 states keep some or all baby DNA 10 years or longer for research. Some state health officials, as in Minnesota, are determined to claim Baby DNA as their own. That's why . . .

 

Monday's Baby DNA victory is bittersweet.

 

On one hand, parents and children won because the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will destroy the 1.1 million baby DNA cards plus nearly as many newborn genetic test results they've accumulated daily since July 1, 1986. This action is the result of the 2009 lawsuit, the November 16, 2011 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that found the department in violation of Minnesota's genetic privacy law, and the terms of Monday's settlement agreement.

 

On the other hand, the department has successfully been working to re-establish government claims on newborn DNA and genetic data. More on that in a moment. In addition, although MDH paid attorney's fees ($975,000), they paid no penalties to the families who brought the lawsuit as authorized by the Minnesota Data Practices Act. Thus the precedent set by this ruling is "no penalties" for egregious and willful privacy violations.

 

Congress is not helping. The federal government gave $25 million in federal grants to four institutions last September to create a genomic sequencing process for newborn DNA - a process for government to fully detail the genetic profile of every baby at birth. If it sounds like the provocative futuristic 1997 movie Gattaca, that's because it is.

 

Donate today to help us fight this critical battle over DNA ownership and control. A donation of $25, $75 or $100 will help us put an end to this daily government taking of private genetic property.

 

In our organization's 11-year journey to stop the nationwide genetic grab of state governments, we've discovered it's not even enough to win in the Supreme Court....

 

Keep Reading...

 

 


 




News to Know:

Settlement Reached in Newborn Screening Lawsuit

After nearly five years, a settlement has been reached with the State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health over the illegal and improper use of blood samples obtained by the MDH through the Newborn Screening Program. Twenty-one families brought a lawsuit against the state and MDH regarding the state's use of blood samples obtained via newborn screening for storage, research and testing without parent consent. As part of Monday's settlement, MDH will only pay plaintiff's attorney fees ($975,000) and must comply with state newborn screening laws, which currently require parent consent.



Missouri Could Block Obamacare

This month, the Missouri Senate will consider SB-546, a bill that could cripple Obamacare within the state. Missouri's anti-Obamacare legislation follows states like South Carolina and Georgia, where anti-ACA bills are being fast-tracked. SB-46 would prohibit Missouri from taking any action that would "compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system," meaning Missouri would be banned by law from operating a government health exchange.



Health Care Breaches Expected to Increase in 2014

Healthcare and related systems can expect to see significant data breaches in 2014, according to an Experian report. "The healthcare industry, by far, will be the most susceptible to publicly disclosed and widely scrutinized data breaches in 2014," says the report. The report cites the size of the healthcare industry, $9,210 per-capita health care spending, and the health insurance exchanges as large contributing factors to the industry being a target for data breaches.



New Medical Billing Codes Intrude

There will soon be a medical billing code if you or a loved one is attacked by an Orca. Next fall, nearly the entire medical billing system will change by switching over to a complex system of hyper-detailed computerized codes that will allow intense government monitoring of the details of your medical history. The new code system, ICD-10, will classify virtually every possible medical injury and incident, including where it happened.



Canadian Doctors Object

According to January's Bioethics, many Canadian doctors are claiming conscientious objection to certain practices, namely abortion, and are refusing to offer treatment, service or even referrals related to their areas of objection. Canadian officials are concerned that too many doctors are objecting, limiting access to certain medical procedures. The legal question now becomes whether a doctor can be forced to offer or refer services he or she objects to.



UnitedHealth Group to Tidy Up MNsure

Optum, a data services subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest health insurer in the country, has been called in to help clean up a bit of the mess at MNsure. About 15 Optum employees arrived at MNsure on Jan. 8 for a two-day assessment and consultation. Optum is not charging MNsure for the visit, but could be hired in the future to further assist with tech cleanup.



Obamacare Lost in Translation

HealthCare.gov continues to have problems, now in multiple languages. Not only did the Spanish-language exchange site, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, launch two-months late, but the site is also plagued by errors, such as pages with Spanish instructions linking users to English forms. An Obamacare official admits literal translation software was used to convert the site, resulting in unpolished, clunky translations so bad that Obamacare navigators have to re-translate for people using the site.



Congressman Contests Cancellation Numbers

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) allegedly pressured Colorado state officials to change its reported number of Obamacare cancellations in the state late last year. In November 2013, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) announced insurance companies were cancelling nearly 250,000 plans in Colorado. Udall and his staff contested the numbers, claiming that 95% of those cancellations (237,500) included options to renew the individual's current plan. Despite repeated pressure from Udall, the DOI has refused to change the numbers. A cancelled plan is a cancelled plan.



News on IRS Seizure of Health Records

More information has come to light regarding a 2011 investigation carried out by the IRS in which the IRS seized nearly 60 million medical records. The organization was investigating the founder of a California health care network on tax fraud allegations when they obtained servers containing nearly 60 million medical records of 10 million individuals. Several suits have been filed against the IRS as a result, claiming that the records were seized inappropriately, and that the IRS violated the privacy of millions.



Swedish Doctors Transplant Wombs

Swedish doctors have successfully transplanted wombs into nine women as part of an experimental procedure. The women were either born without a uterus or had it removed due to cervical cancer. All of the women will attempt to conceive as part of the first major experiment to determine if childbearing is possible using transplanted reproductive organs. Critics are questioning the ethics of such a major transplant as well as voicing concerns over the safety of children developing in transplanted wombs.



Capitol Hill Aides Worried by Obamacare

According to a new Congressional Management Foundation survey, a majority of top congressional aides are concerned about the effects of Obamacare on their staff. Among their chief concerns are changes to their benefits, higher costs and accessibility to local health care providers. Ninety percent of those surveyed said they are concerned about benefit changes, while 86 percent are nervous about the financial implications and 79 percent are worried about access to care.



Government Lax on EHR Fraud Prevention

 A Jan. 8 report released by the Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General indicates that the Medicare administration has done very little to confront fraudulent billing practices connected to the use of electronic health records (EHRs). Despite research that shows the widespread use of EHRs has made fraud easier, less than a quarter of contractors responsible for detecting Medicare fraud are actively looking for EHR fraud (Bloomberg BNA, Jan. 8, 2014).



Private Exchanges 4X More Profitable for Health Plans

Health plan executives are preparing for what they see as renewed employer interest in private insurance exchanges. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey notes that nearly 30% of large employers are considering offering benefits through a private exchange -- which would be four to five times more profitable for insurers as employers move from self-funded plans to fully insured coverage (Inside Health Insurance Exchanges, Vol. 3, Number 20, Nov. 14, 2013).



Obamacare Attracting the Older, Sicker

Obamacare's youth-oriented marketing blitzes have proven ineffective, as most people enrolling in health insurance exchanges are older and potentially less healthy. Obamacare officials have been aggressively marketing the exchanges to young adults in hopes of enrolling young, healthy people to offset the cost of insuring the elderly, the sick and those with pre-existing conditions. Without that counterbalance, expect the already higher-than-promised premiums to continue climbing.

 




Quote of the Week:



"It would probably be better not to use this tracking system at all if we had to let people know about it," - Glenna Weddle, owner of Rac Boutique, a store that uses Turnstyle Solutions, Inc., which installs location sensors in various stores allowing individuals with Wi-Fi-activated phones to be tracked. Turnstyle owner Chris Gilpin says his tracking data does not (yet) include doctor's visits or health data.

 




Stats of the Week:

55% - of Obamacare Exchange enrollees that are age 45 to 64. The younger crowd, whose wages are needed to support the program, eschews enrollment despite months of targeted marketing. Only 24% enroll.


 




News Release of the Week:

Settlement Reached in Minnesota Case of Baby DNA Stored Without Consent

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The start of 2014 marks a victory for the protection of private genetic data with the settlement of a lawsuit between 21 Minnesota families and the Minnesota Department of Health. The multi-year case argued the illegal and improper storage and use of newborn blood samples and genetic test results obtained under the Newborn Screening Program by the state health department. The ruling is in favor of the 21 plaintiffs, and now the blood samples and test results obtained without consent must be destroyed.

The Minnesota Department of Health had secretly established a database of genetic test results and a DNA bio-bank of blood samples from blood left over after newborn screenings. More than 50,000 blood samples and test results were also given by the State to drug companies and equipment manufacturers for genetic and other research - without parental knowledge or consent. Continue reading




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Have You Been Forced Into Medicaid?

Donʼt play around with Obamacare. The exchanges are enrolling people into Medicaid against their will. Hereʼs how it works. You go online just to see what youʼre eligible for. And despite the fact that the entire system is not secure and your identity could be stolen or your computer hacked you enter all your personal data into it. Continue reading

Twila Brase broadcasts a daily, 60-second radio feature, Health Freedom Minute, which brings health care issues to light for the American public. Health Freedom Minute airs on the entire American Family Radio Network, with more than 150 stations nationwide in addition to Bott Radio Network with over 80 stations nationwide.

Click here to listen to this week's features.

Citizens' Council for Health Freedom
161 St. Anthony Avenue, Ste 923
St. Paul, MN 55103
Phone: 651.646.8935 • Fax: 651.646.0100
Email: info@cchfreedom.org
www.cchfreedom.org



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