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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 3, 2010

AMERICANS SAY NO TO ELECTRONIC PATIENT DATABASES

Bob Barr, Atlanta Journal-Constitution - A recent survey conducted by the respected and nonpartisan Ponemon Institute questioned some 850 Americans from diverse backgrounds and views and from 45 different states. The just-released study found that a whopping 75 percent of Americans do not support a database of private health information in the hands of the federal government. The vast majority of Americans 85% according to the Ponemon survey are not even aware that such a move is in the works; that such a proposal was in fact snuck into the health care legislation passed recently by both the House and the Senate.

Were the country aware that tucked into the legislation was some $3.0 billion to be used to create an electronic health record for every American, that 75% figure might be even higher. Even in the current environment, well more than half of those surveyed - 56% - want even stricter laws to prevent government from accessing their medical records without proper consent. More than two-thirds believe correctly - that such a database will diminish their privacy rights.

For a peek at what could be expected to happen with thousands of federal bureaucrats compiling, maintaining, sharing, and otherwise manipulating health records of the most private nature imaginable on every citizen, simply consider what is occurring far too frequently even now, with the rapidly expanding number of electronic health information databases.

In November 2009, Health Net lost 1.5 million patient records but waited six months to disclose the incident. Not one patient, or a single law enforcement agency or government entity, was notified of the loss for six months. The disc that was lost not only contained personal information about nearly two million patients, but also private information on at least 5,000 physicians. . .


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