Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sex, Drugs and Obamacare

Thanks to new regulations that are part of the federal Affordable Care Act, patients will be asked to disclose more personal information to their doctors — including how often they have sex and how with how many sexual partners.
And once they do, it won’t really be personal information any more.
One provision of the new Obamacare law will have doctors asking their patients about their sex lives and history of drug use, even if such information is completely unrelated to why the patient is seeking medical treatment, according to a report in Monday’s New York Post,
Christina Sandefur, a lawyer for the Goldwater Institute, an Arizona-based conservative think tank challenging the Affordable Care Act in federal court, said the arrangement is a violation of patients’ privacy rights.
“Once you’ve shared your information with a private third party, the Supreme Court has ruled that is fair game for the government,” she told, noting the recent disclosures of data sharing between the National Security Agency andGoogleFacebook and other online services.
Doctors and hospitals who refuse to participate could be cut-off from some federal funds, and individuals who decline to share sensitive information may have to pay the fines — taxes, according to the Supreme Court — outlined in the federal health care law.
“This is nasty business,” New York cardiologist Dr. Adam Budzikowski told the Post.
Budzikowski called the sex questions “insensitive, stupid and very intrusive.”
The president’s “reforms” aim to turn doctors into government agents, pressuring them financially to ask questions they consider inappropriate and unnecessary, and to violate their Hippocratic Oath to keep patients’ records confidential, the Post reported.
Thanks to laws that protect the confidentiality of doctor-patient conversations — in the same way conversations with your lawyer or your priest are considered off-the-record and — people generally are more open with their doctors than with friends and family.
That’s a good thing for both doctors and patients.  Privileged communication means patients will give honest answers and doctors can get vital information.

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