What didn't come up during the president's first press conference was how one section of the convoluted legislation--it's approximately 800 pages total--is intended to radically reshape the nation's medical system by having the government establish computerized medical records that would follow each American from birth to death.Those considering running for office should be very careful about this. Famous bloggers who use their real names (Kos, Glenn Reynolds, etc.) should be concerned by this. Small-time bloggers who criticize crooked local politicians should be concerned by this. You think my concern is overblown? Need I remind you:
Billions will be handed to companies creating these databases. Billions will be handed to universities to incorporate patient databases "into the initial and ongoing training of health professionals." There's a mention of future "smart card functionality."
Yet nowhere in this 140-page portion of the legislation does the government anticipate that some Americans may not want their medical histories electronically stored, shared, and searchable. Although a single paragraph promises that data-sharing will "be voluntary," there's no obvious way to opt out.
Government computers used to find information on Joe the PlumberDoctors have a sworn ethical obligation to safeguard medical records. They can get sued and lose their license for violations. Politicians and their lackeys who dig around government databases? They can use "private" government files to dig up dirt on people they don't like and as long as a pol higher up covers for them they do so with impunity. If they get caught? Big deal. They get fired and the next day they are hired by a lobbyist.
Investigators trying to determine whether access was illegal
Friday, October 24, 2008 8:57 PM
State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about "Joe the Plumber."
I guarantee you that there are escape clauses allowing for the current crap of DC pols to get out of this. Their future political adversaries, us bloggers, investigative reporters, everyone else, we're SOL.
Update: See what's happening in the UK.
(Woah! Instalanche! Thanks, Glenn.)