Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Privacy rules

Sunday's NYT article touched on so many issues it was hard to address them at one sitting. The article asserts that concerns about privacy and security are the major obstacle blocking passage of pending bills on health IT. I wish that was true because it would mean that privacy concerns had become a higher priority than they have been up until now, and that there was agreement on all of other vexing issues in this area. Alas, I don’t think either is true.

Privacy and security are clearly important considerations on lawmakers’ minds, but equally if not more important barriers are:
  1. lack of budget
  2. blurry policy options, stemming from the complexity of health care delivery and little to no understanding at the federal level of the complexity of these issues
  3. disagreement (mostly ideological) on the role of government generally, and the divvying up of power between federal- and state-levels specifically
  4. lack of awareness among the public (or more specifically, voters) of the urgency of taking steps to improve the quality and efficiency of our care
The following commentary from iHealthBeat is indicative:

"Prospects look pretty good" for the 110th Congress to pass health IT legislation in 2007, Michael Zamore, a policy adviser for Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), said in an interview for an iHealthBeat special audio report. According to Zamore, health IT is a "great candidate" for bipartisan efforts because "it's teed up, it's kind of ripe, it's been kicked around, it's had a false start or two," and the "ideas have been percolating and vetted.

"David Merritt, project director at the Center for Health Transformation, said the opportunity still exists to pass a bipartisan conference bill during the 109th Congress' lame-duck session codifying the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and allowing hospitals anti-kickback exemptions to provide physicians with health IT equipment.

"Let's not throw away all the progress we've made up to this point simply because of the change in power," Merritt said. However, Zamore and Merritt agree that identifying funding for health IT initiatives with current budget deficits will be a challenge (Rebillot, iHealthBeat, 11/15).

The Democrats on the Hill (especially Ed Markey) do place a greater emphasis on privacy concerns than do the Republicans (outgoing Connecticut Republican Congresswoman Nancy Johnson's bill was silent on the issue, for example), so maybe this will rise in importance in the new Congress. In this environment though, I think cash (or lack thereof) will still be king......

1 comment:

Joel Phillips said...

Rob Clark: Changed Man, Good Man
by Joel Phillips

I operate the web site, www.religiousfreedomwatch.org. This is a site that will give you facts about extremists, zealots, bigots, terrorists, criminals and other threats to your community. It is used on a regular basis by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Also, hardly a day goes by that the site does not get an award for being ethical or useful or that some airline executive lets us know that they got good information and they used it to keep shady characters off their flights.

May day job is running American Coast Title which you can read about at www.actfortitle.org. The profits from that company are what pay for the maintenance and research of www.religiousfreedomwatch.org. This activity is fully supported by Frank Berriz and Linda Blood who are the other two owners, the title underwriters at Stewart Titles and of course the employees.

But let me get to the topic. Back in the day Pennsylvania’s Rob Clark was a real problem, making bomb threats against churches and weather stations. He got into Scientology and was completely rehabilitated. From wanting to blow up Scientology and murdering David Miscavige one day to being an ardent Scientologist the next is what I call night and day.

Clark spends most of his life exposing the activities of the various bigots he used be among. Look at my site and time and time again you will find him engaging them in chat debates about the error of their criminal and pederastic ways.

He’s also the man who cracked the Tor code. Tor is software that Wiccans, Indonesians, Russians and other enemies of religious freedom are using in their assault against me, my site and my company. Tor lets you strike invisibly like those monsters in King Kong. But Clark is the man who showed what they were doing and gave some valuable information as to how to stop it.

If Clark has his way there will be a cell full of Wiccans, Indonesians and Russians any day now. Let them keep each other company in there. Of course the reward that is offered by American Coast Title for information leading to the capture of these monsters will help Clark along his way.