Friday, February 13, 2009

No Way Out

I know some of you may get tired of me talking about my novel What So Proudly We Hailed, and I know that every time I do it seems like a plug for the book (which it is), but sometimes I just can’t help it.

I am no prophet, but I continue to see things happening in our world that are eerily similar to what takes place in the book. Instead of making me feel triumphant for my “visionary realism” however, it just scares the hell out of me.

Humor me for just a moment and read the following passage from WSPWH that was written 2 years ago:

The HMO’s, for instance, who ran the country’s healthcare system wanted to know how well you were taking care of your body. What did you buy at the grocery store? How much of it did you get, and how often did you go back for more? How many hours were you at the health club? Did you eat fast food? Did you smoke? Did you drink? Were you complying with your individual health mandate – making your scheduled doctor’s appointments, getting your vaccinations on time, and taking your prescribed meds?

There were risks that had to be managed and profits that had to be maximized, and now that your life – and the way you lived it – was an open book that could be studied and compared and analyzed down to the smallest detail, your individual risk and profit potential could be adjusted accordingly. And just like that, healthcare premiums began to shoot up.

It didn’t even matter if you didn’t like it. You were part of the healthcare system and all of your assets were electronically held by your bank; you didn’t get a bill, it was just automatically deducted from your account. You couldn’t opt out.

Do you understand? You could not opt out.

There was no way to say ‘no’.

Now read the following selected passages from this CNET article dated February 10th (emphasis mine on bolded sections): U.S. stimulus bill pushes e-health records for all

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.

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.

The databases will, "at a minimum," include information on every American's race and ethnicity. They will be used for "biosurveillance and public health" and "medical and clinical research," both of which raise privacy questions. They will become part of a "nationwide system for the electronic use and exchange of health information."

Plus, the federal government will use its vast purchasing power--think Medicare and Medicaid--to compel adoption of e-records that meet government "standards and implementation specifications."

Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C. says he believes PPR "is right to be concerned that the Senate bill would allow for the commercialization of confidential medical information. It changes the incentive structure in data collection."

The bill punishes physicians who are not "meaningful users" of a government-certified e-record database, and specifies certain procedures and information exchanges that will "satisfy" the requirement.

Starting in 2015, government reimbursements to physicians who are not participating in the federal e-record effort will begin to decline.

Am I wrong to be unsettled? What really scares me is when I think of how I ended What So Proudly We Hailed. If our future is even remotely similar, God help us all.


Homehearts said...

I have been troubled ever since I started reading up on it. Glad you are covering it in more depth.

Now add to my deep concern another issue - the money that will be guided toward "vaccinations." WHAT vaccinations? I thought big pharma was perfectly able to finance research on vaccinations. Could it be that this chunk of subsidy is about enforcing vaccinations? Um...well it almost certainly is.

What a handy time for courts to be telling parents that vaccinations didn't cause Autism in their children, isn't it? And how interesting that there are no meaningful studies going on that compare overall health children as well as autism rates for those who are vaccinated with those who are not. Could it be that they wouldn't want their slip to be showing?

I've had my moments of wondering if this complacency about autism is an indicator that this might be part of a plan that so many in government have wanted to implement for a long time - population control. Parents with autistic children can be made disinclined to have more children. And severely autistic children won't be procreating. With the autism rates rising alarmingly, it does make one wonder why there is not more being done to figure out just WHAT IS causing it.

Maybe part of it is parents who have not vaccinated their children won't want to be part of any government study for the scrutiny it might bring...and the risk it would bring also. I'd say at best we have a fragile right to decide our children's health care these days. I am sure parents of nonvaxed kids would have great fear of the government suddenly forcing the children in the study to undergo vaccination if they deem it best. I'm reminded of a state that forced vaccination on school children or their parents would go to jail. Each time something like this happens in a state and people don't come loudly to defend and protect, it is a test case that shows the government how far they can push. Apparently they can push REALLY far.

I keep wondering how much longer families who value their privacy and freedoms to direct the health of their families will still be able to fly under the radar.

Another interesting tidbid...the FDA is apparently acting on a request by a pharmaceutical company to call vitamin B6 (or a component of it) a drug. This will mean that it won't be available as a supplement and a certain drug company will have cornered the early market on selling it to everyone. It keeps boiling down to money and who wants to abuse the everyday citizen in order to make a bundle of profits to the detriment of the consumer.

It is an interesting time to be alive...but it is also frightening to watch our freedoms being snuffed out rapidly and little real protest being raised.

Thanks for raising the alarm.

K. Dixon

Blaine Staat said...

If a ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then a pound of cure is worth a ton of treatment.

Unfortunately for us, treatment is where the money is.

MamaHen said...

You know what I want to know? What happened to "Roe v. Wade" - the case that was to "protect patient privacy" (NOT legalize baby-murdering) ?????

Have you ever read "SpyChips" by Albrecht and McIntyre? If not, please do, and see what is already being done! 1984 is here.

Kimberline said...

Isn't that so very true?

I was thinking about this comment and big pharma is not satisfied to just offer that pound of cure at huge markup costs, of course...they want the complete right to snuff out our ability to get that ounce of prevention.

It is diabolical.

I found a quote today that I think is a great one for this particular topic.

J. Edgar Hoover said, "The individual is handicapped when he confronts a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists."

My children believe that our government is reducing population and killing us off with sugar ;) Now that they have found High Fructose Corn Syrup contains mercury, that seems much more plausible and sinister. How is mercury getting into HFCS? And why is HFCS in all our food?

It does seem there is a plot to keep people from true health in this country. Being aware of this makes me edgy. When I am edgy, I want to eat comfort foods. My favorite comforts foods are sweets like pudding and cookies. Both are sweetened with HFCS. Just thinking about that gives me pause. I'll go juice organic carrots instead.

K Dixon

Blaine Staat said...

Whenever a crime is committed, one of the questions that is always asked is, "What was the motive?".

Everything corporate America does is dictated by two things: money and power. Understand the motive and you understand the crime.

Why is HFCS in just about everything we buy? Because it's cheap to make and it since it doesn't satisfy your hunger, it actually creates a desire to eat more. If you're a food manufacturer, that's called a "win-win".