Economic Stimulus Bill Would Nationalize Health Information

As I wrote about over the weekend, the so-called economic stimulus now being considered by the Senate is full of waste and pork. This kind of thing is to be expected any time Congress decides to start spending money on a wish list of projects that would otherwise not be funded. Of course, as the folks at the Cato Institute point out, most good economists will admit that artificial government-induced stimulus packages don’t really work.
The stimulus bill would be bad enough if it just wasted money and stalled our economic recovery, but real, harmful policies are being foisted on the American people. One of the most troubling such policies is a provision that would essentially nationalize your medical records.(how this is an economic stimulus is beyond me, nevertheless…) According to the folks at the Institute for Health Freedom, the stimulus bill would require :

* “The utilization of an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014.”
* “The National Coordinator shall perform the duties…consistent with the development of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that allows for the electronic use and exchange of information and that…facilitates health and clinical research…”
The federal medical privacy rule promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) already permits the disclosure of personal health information without patient consent for treatment, payment, and oversight of the healthcare system. The stimulus bill fails to restore patient consent, while at the same time, mandating electronic health records and facilitating the electronic exchange of every American’s health information.

Regardless of the merits (or lack thereof) of electronic health records, your health information will no longer be your own under this plan. Since information is power, is it any stretch to say that this is the first step to nationalized health care?