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A Medical Version of the Patriot Act?

April 8, 2009
James Bovard
4/8/2009

The computerization of personal health care records is one of the showcases of the stimulus. President Obama promised: “We will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years all of America’s medical records are computerized.” Congress ponied up $19 billion to subsidize doctors and hospitals computerizing patient record and creating electronic health care tracking systems.

The ultimate goal of the Obama program is “the utilization of a certified electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014,” as the stimulus legislation states. But having a massive electronic database will make it far easier for the government to coerce both doctors and patients. This is a peril as bad as or worse than the Patriot Act.

At this point, less than 20% of the nation’s physicians have gone full speed on computerization. Obama’s plan offers grants of between $40,000 and $65,000 to doctors’ offices who computerize patient records, and up to a million dollars per hospital. But if health records are digitized on the federal dime, it will be far easier for politicians to claim the resulting information.

While the Obama administration is showing the smiley face now, its plan calls for federal penalties for doctors who have not computerized their records by the year 2014.

The story continues …..

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