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CCHF Health Freedom eNews

August 28, 2013


 

States Build Patient-Tracking Systems

The NSA is not the only agency specializing in surveillance. State government health officials are profiling children and cataloging citizens in massive government databases without the patient's or parent's consent. That's the gist of our new 50-state report, released last week: "Patient Privacy and Public Trust: How Health Surveillance Systems are Undermining Both."

 

This ground-breaking project took eight years and three data collection strategies to achieve a report that includes data from all 50 states. It will inform the public about the vast state health surveillance systems funded primarily by the federal government. We hope citizens and lawmakers will use the report to advance legislation that purges the databases of data collected without consent, restricts government access to private medical data and restores patient privacy and consent rights.

 

There are nine key take-aways:

  1. Many Americans are in at least one state government patient-tracking system, either as a patient or as a parent.
  2. There are virtually no consent requirements and few dissent options.
  3. Child Health Profiles are being created by linking various state databases together.
  4. Federal funding drives the establishment and maintenance of state databases.
  5. This is a violation of Fourth Amendment rights against search and seizure.
  6. Disease- and condition-specific databases are increasing.
  7. Patient trust in doctors and hospitals may be harmed once patients realize surveillance is taking place.
  8. The HIPAA privacy rule is actually a disclosure rule, giving states access to data.
  9. State legislators have the power to restore rights to privacy and consent.

To bring patient tracking into sharp focus, our report focuses on four state health surveillance systems found in almost every state:

  • Birth Defects Surveillance
  • Cancer surveillance
  • Newborn screening databases
  • Vaccination/Immunization registries

Individual patient and parent names are collected and stored. Information is accessed regularly. Cancer patients are annually tracked. Child vaccination surveillance systems are expanding to include adult vaccinations. Few people are informed. And most people are not allowed out of the state tracking systems.

 

At our special report Web page you'll find the following items:

  • Full Report
  • Clickable Map of the United States
  • 51 Charts of Statutes/Rules for Four Surveillance Systems in Each State and D.C.
  • Raw Data Table

Our "raw data" table is filled with information gathered directly from state agencies using a survey tool we created. It includes the date the surveillance system was established and the number of people in each database. These numbers are no longer current because the survey was part of data-collection strategy #1, but the numbers will still amaze. Using the date the database was created and the number of individuals in it at the time of our survey, you can extrapolate the number of individuals tracked today.

 

Go to http://bit.ly/HealthSurveillanceReport. Read the report. Be amazed at the raw data. Click on your state. See if your state law requires consent. See how your data is accessed and by whom. See if your data is available to researchers without your consent. You can use our report as a starting point to find out if any of the myriad other state surveillance systems listed on page 2 of the report are in your state.

 

Use this report to take action. Go to your state legislator and request legislation that purges the state health surveillance systems of all citizen data collected without informed written consent, requires written informed consent for access to private medical records and requires consent for placement of individuals in state surveillance systems. Your legislature can undo the damage of the so-called HIPAA privacy rule by simply requiring patient and parent consent. Real consent, not dissent. Ask your lawmakers to take action.

 

Remember, he who holds the data makes the rules. Information is power. In the hands of government, it can be used to profile you and your doctor, it can be used to strong-arm physicians into denying access to medical care and it can be used to push objectionable public policy--all without your consent.

 

There is no freedom if you're under surveillance.

 

Working to secure health freedom for all,

 

Twila Brase, RN, PHN

President and Co-founder


 




 




News to Know:

HHS Secretly Hires "ACA Police"

The Obama administration continues to assert unilateral power. On the day Obamacare was signed into law, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) received authority to make 1,814 new hires, at a total cost of $159 million. That authority included 50 criminal investigators and 261 'consumer safety officers." But on their own, HHS increased the investigators to 86 -- and has only hired two safety officers. Obama is focused on police power not safety of citizens.



Fruit Basket Upset!

California farm labor contractors are nervous about a section of the Affordable Care Act that will require hundreds of thousands of full-time field and farm workers to be covered by health insurance. With the prospect of switching laborers to part-time being unrealistic, many labor contractors are already bracing for financial impact. Some contractors and farms are anticipating that the law may cost them $1 per hour per worker. To balance the costs, producers have to increase product price, so when fruits and vegetables start getting much more expensive, thank Obamacare.



Direct Pay for the Uninsured - A Solution

When 62-year-old Shelley Toreson dropped her health insurance due to frustration with insurers, she took charge rather than face medical uncertainty. The Nevada resident joined the Access to Healthcare Network (AHN) and now receives better care by paying discounted rates upfront. AHN is a group that connects uninsured residents to doctors that offer direct pricing and care outside the red-tape of the insurance system. "They're so willing to work with you on whatever kind of problem you might have," Toreson says, unlike with insurers, where the attitude is often "how are we going to not pay this?"



Nevada AFL-CIO Condemns Obamacare

The Nevada State AFL-CIO recently passed a resolution that heavily criticized Obamacare. The union claims that certain provisions of Obamacare will destroy union health plans. The union initially supported the law but has grown increasingly critical amidst concerns that union members will lose their current coverage. The resolution states, "The unintended consequences of the ACA will lead to the destruction of the 40 hour work week, higher taxes and force union members onto more costly plans."  Unions are learning Obama never intended that, "if you like your health plan, you can keep it."



Employed Physicians to Earn Less

According to a recent survey from Hay Group, all physicians can expect pay increases in the next year, though what type of physician one is and where one is employed will dictate how much of an increase. Physicians in group-based practices can expect to see larger pay increases (3.7 percent) than physicians employed by hospitals (2.2 percent). Primary care physicians are also expected to see higher increases than specialists. 



Organizations Dropping Spouse Coverage Due to Obamacare

In response to the impending rising costs brought about by the Affordable Care Act, several organizations are dropping health coverage for some employees' spouses. Last week, the University of Virginia announced that it will be cutting coverage for employee spouses due to a $7.3 million increase in the university's health costs under the ACA. Similarly, UPS will also be halting coverage for nearly 15,000 employee spouses, also due to higher costs brought about by the ACA (The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 22, 2013).



Targeting Hispanics for Obamacare

The Obama administration and insurers are beginning to focus ACA marketing on the Hispanic community, seeing a huge opportunity to make ACA exchanges a success. Of the 53 million Hispanics in the U.S., nearly 30% (15 million) are uninsured. Of the uninsured, about 10 million are eligible for coverage under the ACA, and most who qualify are young and healthy, the ACA's target market. Promotional methods include television and print advertising in Spanish, plus Spanish-speaking "navigators." (WSJ, Aug. 20, 2013)



PRIVILEGED: Congress Can Use Pre-Tax Dollars for Exchanges

As Obamacare becomes officially implemented, thousands of congressional employees will be required to move from the current Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) to the Obamacare exchanges. However, members of Congress and their staffers will be allowed to use pretax dollars to cover plans offered an exchange. Private employers are prohibited from subsidizing their employees coverage on the exchange, increasing premiums for both private employers and employees (AISHealth Business Daily, Aug. 22, 2013).



Medical Economics and Ethics

A recent New York Times op-ed questions why there is little moral outrage for "ethical lapses" in medicine such as hospitals acquiring doctors to eliminate the competition so they can charge more.  NCPA's John Goodman says separating ethics and economics is "foolish." Noting the economics around cosmetic surgery and Lasik eye surgery he writes, "[W]herever patients are primarily spending their own money and third-party payers are relatively unimportant, economic incentives and medical ethics seem to be very much aligned."



Refuse Obamacare Home Visitors

Under Obamacare, federal employees will be making home visits to "help" families meet certain standards. Families will be visited if they fall into one of several "high risk" categories, a mother under 21; a tobacco user; children who have low student achievement, developmental delays or disabilities; individuals who are serving or have served in the armed forces, and more. This could include home school families, farm families and anyone the government wants to target. Our advice: Refuse to let a government worker into your home...and say little when you refuse. Government "home visitors" record relationships, environment, comments, etc. into a permanent government record.



Planned Parenthood Gets Grant to Promote ACA

U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) has criticized a $375,000 grant awarded to Planned Parenthood by the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority, stating, "[D]espite assurances from the president when the law was passed, Obamacare will in fact give taxpayer money to abortion providers." The grant was one of 35 awarded to various groups for assisting promoting the ACA Exchanges in the build-up to open enrollment on Oct. 1. A complete list of grant recipients can be viewed here.



"Navigator" Program Worries Congress

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and 13 state attorneys general are concerned that the Department of Health and Human Services' "navigator" program may pose a threat to individuals' privacy. In a statement issued Aug. 15, the committee noted that, "Americans will detail their very personal health and financial information to these individuals...Meanwhile the security of the data hub where all of this personal health and financial information will be stored will not be known one day before open enrollment" (Bloomberg BNA, August 19, 2013). NOTE: navigators will not be subject to any background checks.




Quote of the Week:




"Sounds like we now have the Obamacare police," - Tom Fitton, regarding the 86 new ACA criminal investigators, Judicial Watch, quoted in MailOnline, August 21, 2013.

 




Stat of the Week:

79 - members of U.S. House who have asked Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a letter to support defunding Obamacare. Also, Senator Pat Roberts becomes 14th Senator to join the "Defund Obamacare" movement. Forty-one are needed to sustain a filibuster against a government funding bill.

 

 




Featured Health Freedom Minute:

Who Will Like ACA and Who Won't

A reporter interviewed health plan executives about premium prices under Obamacare. One lobbyist, discussing the coming rate shock said, "Up front, some will have to pay more. But over time the shock disappears." So he thinks weʼll all just get used to being fleeced by Obamacare.
  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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