By Seth Richardson
Do you care if some private company has state-authorized access to your medical files without your permission? Do you care if people you don’t know and didn’t authorize can find out about your embarrassing genital warts, or your HIV/AIDS status, or the fact that your child has a drug abuse problem? Do you care if some unaccountable employee at a non-governmental organization gets to talk around the water cooler about your erectile dysfunction or your mastectomy? Do you care that people you have no control over and who can conceal everything they do from you might be taking salacious pleasure in reading the details of your private conversations with your psychiatrist? Do you care if this private organization, after raiding your files, sells the information in them to other people in order to fund it’s intrusions on your rights?
I certainly do.
Last week, after attending the Gazette’s and the Independence Institute’s sold-out forum “A Constitutional Guide to Fighting Federal Overreach; A program for the Grassroots” I was invited to schmooze with Independence Institute sponsor Mike Krause and others at the hotel pub. I thought it would be a nice social occasion, but what I heard from Mike literally turned my stomach and made my blood boil. Now I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.
I learned that during the 2010 legislative session, the Colorado General Assembly and former Governor Bill Ritter treacherously betrayed every citizen of Colorado by passing a law authorizing the seizure of our personal medical records by a private, non-governmental organization, the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC), and almost nobody noticed except the watchdogs of liberty at the Independence Institute.
The “All-Payer Claims Database” is the brainchild of liberal policy wonks like Jenny Nate, a blogoflack for the CIVHC, who are all delighted at the way Obamacare has allowed them to “leverage” state and federal law in order to get the legal authority to pry into your private medical affairs without your permission and with no way to oversee what they do with that information.
In her blog at the CIVHC website, Nate writes, “Just like everybody else, policy wonks have dreams. Two years ago, it was a big dream of mine that someday Colorado would become one of the leading states in America to increase transparency around what we’re paying for and what we’re getting for our health care dollar through the creation of an all-payer claims database…On May 26, 2010, my wonky dream came true when Governor Ritter signed House Bill 10-1330 authorizing the creation of a statewide all payer claims database (APCD). This legislation extended the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) authority to compel insurers to provide claims data for use in an APCD.”
Transparency my fundament. She want’s transparency of your private medical records, but her organization is set up to utterly deny any transparency regarding what they do with that information.
She goes on to crow about the depth of detail the database will contain: “An all-payer claims database (APCD) is a database that typically includes data derived from medical, eligibility, provider, pharmacy, and/or dental files from private and public payers, including insurance companies, third party administrators, Medicaid and Medicare. These databases include covered services for the population, a unique member identification number, patient demographics, plan and member payments, and some clinical information.” Translation: She is literally drooling at the notion of having access to every detail about your medical visits to your doctor, your pharmacist, your dentist and anybody else who serves your medical needs.
Nate’s wonky dreams aside, just who the hell do these people think they are? Don’t answer that, it was a rhetorical question, we know who they are, they are liberal Progressives who think that their “need” to analyze health care in Colorado trumps your Fourth Amendment right to privacy and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. People like Nate, and former Governor Bill Ritter, who signed this travesty of government invasion of privacy care nothing about you or your privacy, they care only about advancing the power of the state over your life.
But it gets far, far worse. If the system was part of the state government, run by state employees and subject to oversight by the General Assembly and transparent in its operations and budget as required by the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), at least we would have the right, and the opportunity to keep track of what’s going on and who is using these records, how, and why. But the CIVHC is not a governmental agency. In fact, it just received it’s approval as a private 501 c3 non-profit from the IRS. This means it’s completely immune from scrutiny by the public under the CORA.
In a letter to the Independence Institute, CIVHC director Phil Kalin wrote: “As you are no doubt aware, CIVHC is no longer an entity of state government, having been spun off as an independent 501(c )(3) in May… [W]e do not intend to distribute a detailed budget publicly…”
Where in the Constitution, state or federal, does the state of Colorado find authority to give a private organization legal access, under threat of state-sanctioned fines, to private medical information and then make that organization exempt from all public scrutiny? Nowhere, that’s where!
It’s time to put a stop to this gross invasion of medical privacy and our constitutional rights. Call your state representatives and demand that they repeal the law. Call your doctor or insurer and tell them that if they release your private information to the CIVHC, you will sue them for invasion of privacy. Call CIVHC and tell them that you will not tolerate them invading your privacy and will sue them as well. Remember, they aren’t a state agency, so they don’t have sovereign immunity like the state does. Don’t be deterred by the state law, file a lawsuit anyway. Bury them in hundreds of thousands of individual lawsuits and sap their funding merely by having to pay lawyers to file answers to the claims. Give them a SLAPP…a “Strategic Lawsuit Against Private Participation” in violating your rights.
And write letters to your local newspapers objecting to this travesty of Progressive arrogance. Get the word out. Make it a news story any way you can.
If we don’t put a stop to it now, your private information will begin flowing into this enormous civil rights violation of a database in December. Thankfully, it was delayed somewhat or it would already be in operation, so there is still time to put a stop to it. Make the calls, make them today, or forfeit your medical privacy forever.
© 2011 Altnews