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Social Security Administration Launches E-Health Info Exchange

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the not-the-kind-of-security-this-needs dept.

Privacy 114

Lucas123 writes "In what could be the start of a national health information exchange system, the Social Security Administration became the first federal agency to go live with a public-private electronic health records information exchange that will cut wait time for 2.6 million Americans who apply for benefits each year by weeks or months. The electronic exchange runs on a database operated by a non-profit organization in Virginia and open-source software deployed at the Social Security Administration. 'The goal of the NHIN effort is to enable secure access to health care data and real-time information sharing among physicians, patients, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies and federal agencies ... regardless of location or the applications that are being used.'"

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Miscategory? (2, Informative)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299611)

This should be in politics, not science.

Re:Miscategory? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301539)

I think it's more of a YRO since it's almost literally your rights online. Cuz obviously they're going to be violated when someone hacks into everyone's medical information now that it's all in one place. But I'm sure some idiot assured them that it's "unhackable." I do think people make a bit of a big deal about it. So what if someone finds out I hurt my finger when I was 16 and it turned out it wasn't broken? The hilarious part is going to be if any celebrity records are hacked and leaked and they had all sorts of embarrassing treatments and operations. Then of course they're all gonna sue and it will get shut down but it'll be worth a laugh in the meantime.

Re:Miscategory? (1)

!coward (168942) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302331)

With regards to celebrities' medical info being released, doesn't that happen already? Either voluntarily, or because someone got paid to out it, there are very few "stars" out there that don't get their private info displayed on national media on a regular basis. In any case, as you just said, they at least have the resources to pursue any offenders, so personally I couldn't care less..

As for "everyday" citizens' medical records being vulnerable.. Well, as more and more info is added onto everyone's files, your records will be able to "paint" a pretty decent picture of how you are (physically and mentally) and what you've been up to, since you were born. All the procedures you had (no matter how small), all prescriptions and every single test result you've ever gotten.. Better hope you never have to do an STD test (wait -- aren't we all supposed to check that on a fairly regular basis?), and more importantly, better hope you never get a false-positive on a test for a particularly nasty disease.. Because if someone gets their hand on that information, they can seriously screw with your life.

And since all that info will now be located (or can be accessed) in/through a single site (pun intended), that basically becomes a single point of failure.. Think of the people who hack into CC companies' DBs to blackmail them.. Now think of the whole Jobs/Apple situation, especially with regards to his health status and its direct effect on the company's stock quote. Need I connect the dots?

Now, the breadth of information that EHRs will bring, and the centralization of all that info, can prove crucial to many scientific/medical breakthroughs, and if care is taken, I believe the gains outweigh the risks.. But care MUST be taken, and generally, governments aren't particularly good at keeping sensitive information secure (just look at all the slashdot entries for governmental screw-ups when it comes to security).

The thing that tickled me the most, however, was this:
FTFS:

[...] The electronic exchange runs on a database operated by a non-profit organization in Virginia and open-source software deployed at the Social Security Administration. [...]

Now, TFA states that this NPO is MedVirginia [medvirginia.net] and their webpage has this to say:

Organizational Structure

  MedVirginia, established in 2000, is a Virginia Limited Liability Company. Initial investors in MedVirginia are CenVaNet, a leading hospital and physician owned network based in Richmond, VA, and MedAtlantic, an affiliate of the Virginia Urology Center.

MedVirginia is governed by a 5-member Board of Managers. Officers of the company are: James Ratliff, MD, Chair; John Bowman, MD, Vice Chair; Jeff Burke, Secretary/Treasurer.

The remaining Board members are William Moore, MD and Eric Coté, MD.

Michael Matthews serves as CEO. Other key management are: Jean McGraw, Chief Operating Officer. Jeff Odell, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, and Joelle Buckner, Director of Information Technology.

[emphasis mine]

Now, IANAL and don't really know how LLCs work, but doesn't this sound eerily close to having a private entity "own" sensitive information pertaining to hundreds of thousands of citizens? Do they even have a choice on who gets to collate their info?

Re:Miscategory? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302743)

You only need to get tested regularly if you are engaging in risky behavior. Sleeping with someone you are only marginally acquainted with is risky behavior.

Most people can wait to get tested until they notice symptoms.

Re:Miscategory? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304147)

"Now, IANAL and don't really know how LLCs work, but doesn't this sound eerily close to having a private entity "own" sensitive information pertaining to hundreds of thousands of citizens? Do they even have a choice on who gets to collate their info?"

All I want to know is....How can I opt out???

Obama Bankrupting the USA Tsarkon Rpt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299623)

Obama = bankruptcy for the USA
- Chairman Barack Hussein "The Teleprompter" Obama is deeply connected to corruption, Rahm Emanuel (Radical authoritarian Statist-Zionist whose father was part of the Murderous Civilian Killing Israeli Terrorist Organization known as IRGUN), Connected to Rod Blagojevich (Rahm inherited Rod's federal-congress seat), Connected to Ayers, a man who promotes the concept that civilian collateral damage is ok in a war against freedom, Preacher Jeremiah Wright, who is himself a black-elitist who wants all the people who largely "pay the freight" to suffer, 31 million on food stamps, more blacks are in prison and on food-stamps per capita than anyone else. The problem with Wright is simply this: the facts are "racist."
- Obama: Racist, AIPAC-Zionist, Corrupted and a Traitor and a Liar who can't even produce a valid birth certificate (which is not a certificate of live birth)
- Raytheon lobbyist in Pentagon
- Goldman Sachs insider second in command at Treasury.
- Cabinet has had several nominees and appointees with multiple tax fraud issues.
- The head of the IRS and the head of the Treasury, Geithner, is a Tax Cheat
- Lied about no lobbyists
- Lied about having a new degree of accountability and a SUNSHINE period of new laws, he has signed bills with little or no review at whitehouse.gov as promised.
- Appointed a second amendment violating Rich-pardoning treasonist Eric Holder as AG, the top cop of the USA, a man who helped a fugitive evade justice.
- Has not put a dime in for a single new nuclear power plant but wants to help bridges and roads to promote more driving.
- Obama, Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel have a LOT to hide. They literally lived next to each other, Rahm had (until being Chairman Obama's Chief of staff) Blagojevich's old federal congressional seat. Blagojevich helped Chairman "The Teleprompter" Obama cheat his way to the Illinois senate by getting other candidates thrown off the ballot in Illinois. Why do you think Blagojevich was so mad? Obama DID owe him, big time. Rahm and Obama are using Blagojevich and trying to cut his head off to keep him away.
- Tony Rezko, Iraqi Arms Dealer Nahdmi Auchi, and of course Aiham Alsammarae. Chairman "The Teleprompter" Hussein Obama is so corrupted its a joke.
- Fools and "useful idiots" twist the pie charts by leaving welfare, workfare, interest on debt, social security, Medicare and Medicaid out and focusing only on non-whole "discretionary" pie charts.
2007 high level pie chart, Federal Budget, USA [wikimedia.org]
2009 Pie chart, detailed, Federal Budget, USA [wikimedia.org]
- Chairman Obama is drastically increasing spending and creating more entitlements that will make the US less competitive (especially against China, India, East Europe/Russia). This will be a huge disaster and change you can believe in will strap you and your grandkids with more debt. No taxation without representation? Obama is spending money for the next two-three generations and they can't even vote yet, or even have been born.
- An alternative to the dollar and a forex and a reserve currency came up at the last G20 meeting. The world will not take faith in Obama's liar-socialist spending and welfare state, why should the taxpayers (plebian citizen-slaves of a police state).
- The spending going on now vastly eclipses all previous spending. In fact, the massive trillion plus debts is a thing of the 80's onwards. Congress signs the checks, remember that Year after year, as egregious as the pentagon spending is, that the social spending is completely a waste of money and it is unfunded over the long term. Eisenhower built the interstates, the US could build a new power infrastructure with this money but instead is being pissed into creating more of an entitlement system that is STILL unfunded, and without massive poll-taxes and far more aggressive progressive taxes, could NEVER be funded.
- The budgeting being done today were recently reported by a non-partisan auditing commission will lead to about 10 TRILLION in new debt over the next 10 years. Obama is going to double the national debt while doing nothing to address the unfunded debt obligations of Social Security.
- Clinton appointed David Walker of the GAO, he quit, the unfunded debt obligations have rendered the USA insolvent according to accounting standards.
Taxpayers on the hook for $59 trillion [usatoday.com]
US Public Debt Unfunded Debt Obligations [wikipedia.org]
- Most of the world population gets NOTHING from their governments, or a very bare minimum or services that benefit only the upper echelons of society. However, the liar Chairman Obama says we need his universal "state-hospital" rationed health care to be competitive. Bull. China and India give nothing, and they are the biggest threat to the American worker. By forcing healthcare and higher taxes, Americans will be less competitive.
- If you think 60% tax rates end to end (income, accounts receivable tax, building permit tax, CDL tax, cigarette tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, federal income tax, unemployment tax, gasoline tax, hunting license tax, fishing license tax, waterfowl stamp tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, liquor tax, luxury tax, Medicare tax, city, school and county property tax (up 33 percent last 4 years), real estate tax, social security tax, road usage tax, toll road tax, state and city sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, excise tax, state franchise tax, state unemployment tax, telephone federal excise tax, telephone federal state and local surcharge tax, telephone minimum usage surcharge tax, telephone state and local tax, utility tax, vehicle license registration tax, capital gains tax, lease severance tax, oil and gas assessment tax, misc internet sales tax and many more taxes that I can't recall at the moment) will make the US competitive, along with compulsory programs to provide everyone with health care is going to make the US competitive in the age of India and China, you are a joke.
- As the US nationalizes (read: rations healthcare) to the least common denominator of affordability without regard to efficacy, people with money will simply look into medical tourism so those with money can go to medical parks in India and get real health care. Those who have lived in Canada or in the UK can tell you "free" healthcare is NOT a panacea. If you think this, you are again, a useful idiot. The NHS in the UK has given bad blood and Hepatitis and AIDS blood to people, and Jade Goody who just died was misdiagnosed twice resulting in her death (She was all cleared twice of cervical cancer which she just died of). The NHS in the UK is not able to be sued or held accountable. Neither will Chairman Obama's rationed health care service for America.
- Sorry to bust the socialist bubble-lie, but support of these types of policies will simply lower the standard of living in the USA, particularly for the middle class. At least at the end of the Eisenhower projects the USA got roads to show for the spending, and with this new spending, the USA could have built power plants that get the USA out of the middle east, but the age of government for the sake of government is upon us, and the useful idiots line up and believe empty promises.
The pentagon (and Bechtel, Kroll, Bluewater, Halliburton, etc) could get less than half of what they get today, but that will fix nothing fundamental in terms of government spending. It is simply not enough to make a difference when compared to the Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, workfare and social security entitlements.
See: YouTube - US Government Immorality Will Lead to Bankruptcy [youtube.com]
- If Obama thinks its ok to lie to 300 million people about being able to "take care of them" without even being honest about what that care would look like, then being an idiot and believing in Obama is for you.
- The US Government already have over 50% of the budget on Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, workfare and social security. Socialists: Good job on that one, its working great. Solution to the current near-collapse-due-to-over-spending: add more unfunded entitlements!
- You Socialist-liars can break my spirit and my financial back to force me to "need" a federal government that is turning this country into a police state and turn it into a quasi-socialist lie, but I will, I must put up a fight. I have kids to educate and feed, and the stuff you sell (which is failing to various degrees everywhere else as implemented) is simply forcing a culture of failure on a once great, libertarian free country.
- I will not be complacent with your "change," and there will be a point where civil war will become an option. See how hard you can push before you get it. How much more than half can the truly productive workers in this country afford to pay. Keep pushing to find out how to start a civil war.
- The socialist-lie of a plan will not work, its not fundable, it WILL destroy the currency to fund it, and its really as simple as this: if this insanity is funded by borrowing from the US's economic and military adversaries then Obama and his socialist cabal is NOT fit to administrate society. Rome fell. Kings who mis-manged their treasuries all fell. Every example of unhinged spending leads to the same result: systemic collapse.
- Obama and his sycophantic lunatics would want to have a civil war to get Chairman Obama's way and force the socialist-lie system on my already tax paying law abiding ass. And as far as "no new taxes" for those under 250k, its a lie, the tax is called inflation, which is set to begin just about now that the Chinese wont want the USA's worthless treasuries to fund the socialist-lie fantasy (one that COMMUNIST China doesn't even try and sell to its people!)
- Chairman Obama's numbers don't add up. There is a $59 trillion dollar hole (UFDO) in social security alone. AIG $150 billion here, TARP $350 billion there. $800 billion for a highly dubious stimulus package. Another one on the way. $59 trillion hole in the balance sheet IGNORED. China saying they aren't going to buy treasuries, Clinton clamoring to find buyers now. $3.6 trillion dollar budget, potential military action on Mexico, Iran still a "terrorist state" at the behest of the AIPAC, spending up, dollar about to fall, inflation over time since Breton Woods extremely easy to document, yet, the socialist-liars question when the numbers (the Federal Government numbers) simply don't add up to the point where if the US-GOV was a company it would be insolvent.
  -How dare the taxpayers question what Chairman Obama's drastic spending increases are going to do to the purchasing power of our savings because Chairman Obama wants to recklessly spend and try to maintain and American empire AND guarantee a standard of living, and Chairman Obama doesn't even want to build a single nuclear power plant to do it? Chairman Obama must be a complete and total lunatic moron.
- Obama is either a negligent idiot or an unhinged maniac with delusional fantasies. Meanwhile, Chainman Obama's tax dodging Treasury Secretary has 17 unfilled positions, the Treasury Dept. isn't even functioning at this point.
- "General welfare" in the constitution was, according to the man who wrote it, Madison, meant to be extremely limited in scope. The federal government per the constitution doesn't even have the enumerated POWER to deal with economic messes. A lot of these "POWERS" were created while there is a crisis to dupe the public into accepting an un-constitutional authoritarian regime as the government and to usurp authority over the people.
- The USA is a constitutional republic. A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting to eat a sheep. Also a constitutional republic isn't about using a barely-majority or a plurality to stuff your (un-fundable disastrous) crap down the disenfranchised other-half's throat.
- With Obama's authoritarian corrupted criminal (aiding and abetting a criminal in flight of prosecution, Rich case) Eric Holder in charge, we won't have our inalienable and enumerated rights to firearms much longer. For a constitutional law expert, Obama must have never read the federalist papers or he would simply hand himself as a traitor.
- The arbitrary expansion of "general welfare" is not only unconstitutional, it may very well lead to a serious conflict on the issue.
- Here is a debate on general welfare and how stuff like this came to pass, but was clearly no intended by the authors of the document of root law.
In Federalist No. 41, James Madison asked rhetorically: "For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power?" (In reference to the general welfare clause)
So strongly did the founders believe that "general welfare" wouldn't be expanded as written:
In Federalist No. 84, Alexander Hamilton indirectly confirmed Madison's point. (That the "general welfare" clause was "clearly" nota free pass for government)
Hamilton argued that a bill of rights, which many were clamoring for, would be not only unnecessary, but dangerous. Since the federal government was given only a few specific powers, there was no need to add prohibitions: it was implicitly prohibited by the listed powers. If a proposed law a relief act, for instance wasn't covered by any of these powers, it was unconstitutional.
"why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?"
Hamilton goes on to argue that making Amendments (e.g., enumerating Free speech, press and assembly) and enumerating the 'right' would have the following effect:
(A bill of rights) "would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power that is, a power to regulate the press, short of actually shutting it down. "
"With respect to the words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers (enumerated in the Constitution) connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." --James Madison [The US Supreme Court has found the meaning of "general welfare" in the Constitution to be much more elastic than did Mr. Madison. But as the "author of the Constitution," what does he know?]
James Madison, when asked if the "general welfare" clause was a grant of power, replied in 1792, in a letter to Henry Lee,

If not only the means but the objects are unlimited, the parchment [the Constitution] should be thrown into the fire at once.

"...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government , and to provide new Guards for their future security. ...--The Declaration of Independence
- Wrong, monetizing failures causes more. Japan showed us this for decades. But hey, Chairman Obama thinks you can fix a problem DECADES in the making with a quick fixer-upper, he is screwed in the head.
- The complaints are with the Federal government (in general) since Breton Woods. The Federal Government and Obama's minions STILL didn't listen to David Walker, a Clinton appointee and former head of the GAO. This isn't about political parties anymore morons!
- Show me a single federal budget that was less than the previous. If this $3.6T budget goes, its never coming back barring systemic collapse.
- The United States Federal Government, The United States Federal Reserve, and the banks which were enabled to continue down reckless paths by a quasi government agency known as the Federal Reserve whose actions are not subject to congress and whose members are unelected. This situation is untenable and unconstitutional.
- Every inflationary road taken in history ends in collapse. Keynesian policies are widely regarded as no longer workable.
- Inflation is a tax: What ignorant tax and spenders don't take into account here is the relative percentages of people's wealth (both net and gross) and the costs of owning and maintaining houses, cars, standards of living.
- Inflation via deficit spending is going to make it such that you will be paying a lot more by percentage of your income to maintain a given standard of living. Obama's arguments are so poorly thought out and seek to blame "Republicans" for the mess, its really simply laughable - the needs cleanup now, not worsening.
- You can't spend your way out of a hole if the creditors (e.g. China) start telling the USA they won't buy. It is that simple. Now America starts to have to collateralize the debt with assets. The USA will be selling off chunks of American assets to back the new debt. One day, it may even be necessary to sell Alaska back to Russia because no one will take greenbacks to prop up a failing version of a modern Rome.
- Ah, here we go with the Matthew Lesko arguments. [lesko.com]
Interest rates were on the rise before the government stepped in with free money for everyone (the fine print of course indicate massive strings attached).
Other economies, for example, India, have the central rates set to far more reasonable/realistic rates (at the moment ~ 8+%), which is still tends to be too low, but shows that if you need someone else capital you need to pay a premium for it, and given that capital is in short supply, it would stand to reason that a premium must be charged for it.
The problem is the unrealistic growth rates of mature economies don't allow for profiting via growth projections (rather than simply earning money). So the government steps in, turns on the free money spigot, gets the interest rates for savings down in the 1-2% range while diluting the value of the whole currency in order to prop up dying companies that ran the business like a Madhoff Ponzi scheme.
- The Republicans aren't solely responsible for the crisis as Obama's minions would have you believe, congress is (no particular congress), the Executive of the US government (no particular one) and the US Federal Reserve System are all at fault.
- Fundamentally, the government is trying to fix the prices of various things to "make it all work." This pulling on the invisible hand is a fools venture. It was predicted long ago the housing collapse (and those, such as myself, in the know, wished while realizing the housing collapse coming that we were wrong for everyone's sake - but the truth is the truth) . It may be that the Austrian (von Mises) economists will ultimately be proven right.
- We are a nation of partially educated whiney grabby idiots, and we got the government that represents this. The Chinese, India and other up and coming nations will show no mercy for this arrogant abuse of our status as the world's forex reserves.
- War and asset sales will continue to be the only option for this scheme until it is corrected at the core. And to say that the government has already averted a depression by doing what they did (most of the monies injected wont be "felt" for some time), is just arrogance and stupidity. Price fixing prolonged the Great Depression. Price-fixing (or attempting to) houses will do the same, but probably worse.
- Obama's minions simply don't care if the US is bankrupted and rendered insolvent, they just want a say in how its done, presumably to "feel safe." Rather selfish.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." AND "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin (Possibly Richard Jackson)

- Everyone better realize that inflation will pay a major role in funding un-fundable fantasies, wiping the savers and the middle class out. The problem is, that other countries are growing tired of making our Federal Reserve notes worth something by buying our debt as treasuries. Obama's minions talk about spending, but in order to "get what YOU want" you will sell debt to potential economic and military adversaries? Real bright. What's really sad is that despite David Walker being an authority on these issues, people refuse to even watch him and listen to what he is saying.
- On the success of Canada and its form of Socialism: A huge country like Canada with massive amounts of uranium and tar sands and natural resources and a huge land mass with a scant 30 million people is an order of magnitude less of a problem to manage than a country with 10x its population, a serious leaky southern border, backfiring aggressive foreign policy, particularly with Iran, and the US is competing with countries like India and China whose middle classes are larger than the US's entire population. The top 5 students in every Indian and Chinese primary school out numbers all the kids in primary school in the US. Canada is a idyllic island, the USA is front and center in an all out economic and political clash of ideologies.
- Cap and trade (and pollution control for solving global problems) will never work unless the top 10 countries in the world (in terms of both GDP and manufacturing capacity and population) are on board. Period end. If the world doesn't quickly move to nuclear now and fusion shortly, it is OVER possibly not if every home on the planet gets a wind vane, but that seems unlikely to happen (since its possible now).
- Keynes calls it "the paradox of thrift" and suggested that policies forcing people not to save is a "good idea." The guy wanted people spending all the time, or if he didn't, he never conveyed that to his protégés well enough for them to not do what they are doing. Right now the plebeians in the US are actually stashing cash, and everyone from Obama to the media is trying to get people to spend spend spend. The best thing for the long term is for people to prepare for the coming hell, not set out with no reserves.
- I have seen Keynes invoked to justify nearly every bad move in the past decade, and its warming up to be a potential currency collapse, the collapse of the US Treasury and Federal Reserve notes, and a collapse of the NYSE. And then they invoke Keynes to suggest the best way out of the mess is to spend out of an already near-critically debt massed black hole.
- A house is run like a town is run like a country or business is run like a state is run like a government. If there are things the government is doing that would either force your home into bankruptcy or into jail via fraud charges, then the government and banks shouldn't be operating in that fashion. A certain degree of stretchy liquidity is in order, but in terms of percent of GDP, there is no way of justifying what they US has now.
- Iceland failed at 850 percent debt to GDP. The US is at 350 and rising. It is not a good thing at all.
- What is happening to the dollar as a forex standard. [youtube.com]
- March 19, 2009 C-SPAN - "Let's Quit Destroying Our Dollar!" [youtube.com]
- HR 1207 (A bill to make the Fed more accountable and to answer questions regarding the dollar policy) [loc.gov]

Title: Obama sidetracked by fiscal mess, but presses on [yahoo.com]
"Being heard above the din may prove difficult. Lawmakers are wrangling over taxing people who got big bonuses and worrying the president's budget could generate $9.3 trillion in red ink over the next decade."
- Kremlin to pitch new global currency [infowars.com]
Russia proposes creation of global super-reserve currency

Holy crap, even the Russians and Chinese get it. Strange days are here.

Re: Obama Bankrupting the USA Tsarkon Rpt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27300217)

Mod UP for Great Justice! This is important information here, people. Read it, learn it, live it! Put a stop to the Socialist States of America. Long live FREEDOM! God bless.

Do not want (3, Insightful)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299639)

The thing that worries me is the amount of information sharing, it seems that this is just ripe for abuse, data theft, data loss, and misinformation. I would love it if just my doctor had access to my medical records instead of everyone and their brother.

Re:Do not want (4, Interesting)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299781)

I've said before I'm mixed on this one. I worry about abuse but I also wouldn't mind the hospital having my medical history/allergy information if I'm rushed in incapacitated. I also wouldn't mind having to not fill out the same form every time I visit any doctor.

Re:Do not want (3, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299873)

There are other ways to accomplish that without a big centralized database that everyone has access to.

The insurance companies are going to love this.

Re:Do not want (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300333)

The alternatives typically require a modicum of personal responsibility to ensure data is up to date. 99% of people would simply not keep the latest information in their USB Wristband PHR (or whaterver).

Re:Do not want (3, Insightful)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300757)

Then those 99% of people can suffer the consequences. It's no different than asking you if you're on any new meds when you go in to see the doctor. If you say "no" and then they prescribe you something that mixes horribly with what you're on, it's your own fault for not saying anything.

The potential for abuse is far too high here. I'm sure that not all medical staff are happy with their current pay. Why not supplement it with some nice data grabbing? This also creates one very big target for attack. The more people's data you have in one place the more likely it is that someone's going to try and get it.

The GPs mention of the potential for abuse by insurance companies is right on. Look at credit - how easy is it to fix your credit score if it's been all jacked up? It's not. I can't wait for "health scores" that are similarly disastrous. That'll be all kinds of fun. :-/

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301853)

Then those 99% of people can suffer the consequences. It's no different than asking you if you're on any new meds when you go in to see the doctor. If you say "no" and then they prescribe you something that mixes horribly with what you're on, it's your own fault for not saying anything.

And drive the health insurance premiums up for everyone else? No thanks. I don't want my insurance company denying coverage of essential medication just because they think I'll screw it up somehow.

The GPs mention of the potential for abuse by insurance companies is right on. Look at credit - how easy is it to fix your credit score if it's been all jacked up? It's not. I can't wait for "health scores" that are similarly disastrous. That'll be all kinds of fun. :-/

This already happens - no database required. Try telling your insurance company that it doesn't matter what your medical history is, whether you smoke or not, and how old you are. They'll either drop you or send your premiums through the roof. Your "private" information is already being surrendered.

Re:Do not want (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302907)

Why shouldn't insurance companies be able to charge more for people who don't take care of themselves?

There are lots of good reasons for a wealthy society to provide medical care to everyone, but the current model where insurance companies don't get to act like insurance companies is pretty much insane (I'm young and healthy and not particularly inclined to engage in risky behaviors; if I have to pay more for people that are not healthy and take stupid risks, let's not call it insurance).

Re:Do not want (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303731)

You will not be young and healthy forever.

Re:Do not want (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304001)

Yes, but I'm advocating for reasonable discourse, not 'fuck the sick' insurance-based healthcare.

Convincing people that their current medical coverage isn't really insurance is probably a good step towards improving things.

Re:Do not want (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304117)

That's true, and a lot of people don't take care of themselves. I think that encouragement by one's doctor is probably a better tack than trying to hit them in the pocketbook (well, that, and fixing some of the way big business influences health boards - did you hear about lobbyists for American sugar interests preventing health standards advocating less sugar intake in a healthy diet from being established?)

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27305379)

"Health scores?" What motive would crooks possibly have to deliberately fuck up somebody's health record? Sure, I'll granted "vengeance," but it's not nearly as common a motive as "money," which is probably the driving factor behind nearly 100% of credit-related identity thefts. What the hell is Joe IdentityStealer going to do with 100,000 healthcare records at the corner information black market?

I'm not arguing that the implications of this scheme shouldn't be examined completely, but I think comparing this to the lack of security in the credit markets misses the point.

Re:Do not want (2, Insightful)

glueball (232492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301383)

I understand the "if there's an emergency" argument but a country-wide health care information system would not solve that issue effectively.

There are very few (very, very few) true health emergencies where a physician spending time reading notes will be more helpful than hands on treatment. I am defining an emergency as "you'll be dead in 10 minutes."

Per your example: Allergy attack? There is a standard treatment. Allergy attack after life-saving procedure? There is a protocol.

MI/arrhythmia? There is a protocol. Would it be nice to know if there was a relevant history? It might. But the first line treatment to stabilize will not likely change.

Stroke? There is a protocol.

Overdose? There is a protocol.

If you have multiple stab wounds to the head, your history doesn't matter. And if you have multiple stab wounds to the head, they won't make you fill out forms.

I always thought forms were put in place to make sure you really wanted to be there. I mean, if you can't be bothered to fill out your name and check 10 boxes, should someone else be bothered to pick up a tab for the visit?

Re:Do not want (1)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301851)

This should be something that people can sign up for (or at least sign off of). I could give a rats ass if any potential employers found out any medical issues that I have. I believe the benefits far outweigh the consequences. For all you people with your tinfoil hats, just elect not to be a part of it.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302853)

Let me give my perspective. Many years ago, I was diagnosed with an AVM. (Arterial-Venal Malformation - a dangerous brain condition that can pop without warning.)

Well, I had a brain scan and a whole battery of tests - all of which are gone since the doctor who'd done the tests had since retired and no one could locate his records.

So, when/if this thing pops inside my brain, your concerns about insurance companies seeing your herpes diagnosis will suddenly seem quite unimportant to me since I'll be dead by the time that they can rerun the tests to isolate the point of rupture. Thanks for nothing, kiddo.

Re:Do not want (3, Insightful)

jasmusic (786052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299805)

Yeah we would all love it but things never quite seem to work out that way. This shit ought never to have been created at the federal level.

Re:Do not want (4, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300043)

States would probably do a worse job of it, and we'd probably end up with 50 systems that don't talk to each other (well, actually, more likely 14 done, 5 that never finished implementation, 20 stalled in legislature, ...).

It's most useful if it's seamless across the nation so if for some reason I'm injured in another state my information will be available with no fuss.

Re:Do not want (4, Informative)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300313)

This accurately describes how states currently handle immunization registries. The CDC sets up federal reporting guidelines, but each state has its own registry implementation. This leads to all sorts of fun when trying to do stuff like transfer records when people relocate to another state, or tracking disease infection rates across state lines.

I'm not saying that having a national medical database is necessarily a good thing, but it's immeasurably better than having individual state repositories.

Re:Do not want (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301321)

I'm not saying that having a national medical database is necessarily a good thing, but it's immeasurably better than having individual state repositories.

I tend to agree, but I think you have a different definition of 'immeasurably' - my definition is "not measurable" because there ain't nothing there.
They say Mussolini made the trains run on time.
I think that this sort of information does not need to be networked. Sure standardization of formats is good, but networking is not. Put it on a usb fob that hangs off your keyring and password protect it.

Based on gut instinct alone, I believe that the number of people who will be unconscious in an emergency situation and without any family member available to provide the password for the fob would be at least an order of magnitude smaller, probably 2 orders, than the number of people who will suffer ill consequences from the abuse of their private data via illegitimate network access. All it will take is one big swipe of an entire hospital's worth of patient history for a decade or so to bring the numbers into line with my gut here.

Re:Do not want (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302973)

Yes, far better for one single, centralized system to not work or never be completed.

        Brett

Re:Do not want (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299859)

it seems that this is just ripe for abuse, data theft, data loss, and misinformation.

Doctors and Hospitals don't exactly have the most secure networks,
which effectively guarantees that botnets will have access to their L:P's.

In other words, if it is accessible over the internet, just assume that it is public.

Re:Do not want (4, Informative)

VE3OGG (1034632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300475)

While I agree with your sentiment about doctors (after all, their expertise is medical (chemistry, bio), not technical). However, I am betting that your comment about hospital info security is borne from not having worked in such an environment.

Having run the IT side of a hospital's foundation, and having to interface with their network security, I can say that most definitely they are very competent with data security. Now mind you, this is in Canada -- but I doubt the competent sys admins are only born north of the border.

Hospitals (and the several sys admins I have known that run them) are very much on top of their game -- even the the point of being a pain in the ass to work with (which is both good and bad). Many doctors and nurses absolutely hated the arcane network security protocols in place, but they worked, and the hospital network maintained triple-9 uptime.

Take my anecdotal evidence with a grain of salt, but from my experience, hospital networks are QUITE secure.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27300799)

Having run the IT side of a hospital's foundation, and having to interface with their network security, I can say that most definitely they are very competent with data security. Now mind you, this is in Canada -- but I doubt the competent sys admins are only born north of the border.

I've had to work with hospital IT infrastructure in the US, and it really is horrible. I don't know if you guys are doing something different up north or what, but our experiences are different.

I've always assumed that most (certainly not all, no one get offended) of the competent admins don't want to deal with the heavy bureaucracy that HIPPA and other regulations put on hospitals here in the states. I would imagine though that Canada's regulations are even tougher.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301199)

On the contrary -- some people love layers of security and bureaucracy. Keeps a lot of us in a job.

Yeah, I feel bad about it sometimes.

Then I go home to my beautiful wife and fancy house and cars, and I get blowjobs at 3 in the afternoon.

Re:Do not want (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27305101)

Hospitals are pretty good, perhaps.

Individual practices not so much. I work with quite a number of smaller, 10 Physician and under, practices and without exception they are terrible at security.

Absolutely anything that inconveniences them or slows them down for 1 second, including a single extra mouse click, is immediately rejected as "taking too much time".

I hate to say it but the government needs to start wielding the HIPPA ban hammer so that these Doctors will start taking patient information and confidentiality seriously.

Technical indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27306043)

their expertise is medical (chemistry, bio), not technical

Of course doctors are technical, they just aren't experts in digital electronics. Biology and chemistry most certainly are technical subjects, and medical care is not much more than providing tech support for the human body.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301689)

Hospitals have to have top notch data security. HIPAA will fuck you 10 ways from Sunday otherwise.

Re:Do not want (3, Insightful)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299895)

Provided sufficiently strong security is used then I don't see how this is any different from online banking or credit card purchases through online stores, except all that's being stored here is medical information. I do take your point that data duplicated online is exposed to greater risk, but someone breaking into the system and seeing that dates of my vaccinations and that embarrasing STD is still a better prospect for me than having my online banking details stolen.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27300487)

I'm not so worried about what information they find out about me, it's what information about me that a third party can change that is worrisome. Like my blood type, or erasing references to immune system deficiencies.

Re:Do not want (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300699)

Surely there are more direct ways to cause you harm than changing your recorded blood group on the off-chance that you'll receive a transfusion. Breaking into your house at night and clubbing you over the head with a bat for example. Or running you down with a stolen car. Or a sniper rifle. The list goes on. And even when this information is recorded on a local doctor's computer system, or in true old-school paper files, it's still succeptable to tampering by an evil-doer.

Re:Do not want (2, Insightful)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301833)

But if they really want to do the job right, they'll shoot you AND change your blood type in case you live long enough to get a transfusion.

Value of Data (4, Insightful)

TimeTraveler1884 (832874) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300719)

It can be argued that personal medical information is potentially more important than you life savings. Just a few weeks ago some company in the UK [slashdot.org] was selling confidential data on worker's to building firms that illegally vetted new hires.

There are probably many unscrupulous companies out there that would vet new hires based on health factors such as mental health history, insurance risks (for companies with private insurance), or simply the fact that the STD you have may indicate you are more likely to sexually harass coworkers.

Someone having your online banking account information can only steal the money you have at that time. Someone having your medial information can steal your ability to make money.

Re:Do not want (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301299)

Provided sufficiently strong security is used then I don't see how this is any different from online banking or credit card purchases through online stores,

LoL. "sufficiently strong security" isn't, unless you're going to create a medical version of SIPRNet [wikipedia.org]

Keyloggers and trojans make a mockery of any attempts at securing anything connecting to the internet.

So please, define "sufficiently strong security," because even the most secure backend is as weak as the weakest clients accessing it. And you know that 'secure' clients will never be mandated.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301877)

I would have no problem having medical records treated as secret level data. We have laws and penalties in place for people who mishandle this kind of data.

It sounds like it is being done correctly so far, and if security & ease of use is at the front of their minds when they implement it, I could see it working very well.

Re:Do not want (4, Interesting)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299995)

A few comments on this:

1] Given the way records in private medical databases are protected (or rather, not protected), this system will at least have the sunshine of many eyes making sure its security, data loss prevention, and procedures to correct misinformation, is all up to date.

2] Invasion of medical privacy is only a major concern in the US because of the presently legal practice of insurance companies cherry-picking only the healthiest of people to insure. If the US had a national health care system like every other major first world nation, there would be little or no economic incentive to go sneaking peeks at people's medical records. So fix that instead.

3] This will both increase the quality and decrease the price of medical care. It is a step up.

4] Back to my point #2. This is one of the many kinds of efficiencies that are not dangerous only when you have a national medical plan. So long as we have economic incentives for doing bad things, those things will happen. Oh, but public-schools=socialism! libraries=socialism! public-health-care=socialism! It seems like the only thing that isn't socialism is covering the bad bets of right wing gamblers on Wall Street. All trillion dollars of it.

Competition between governments (2, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300237)

Don't you think western civilization is general would be stronger if we tried multiple approaches in parallel and saw which worked best?

Paying higher taxes for more government service is good, people can move from the US to Europe or Canada. If you prefer to pay less taxes and get less, you can move from Europe or Canada to the US.

Re:Competition between governments (4, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300533)

But the US-like health system is widely available in most 3rd World countries, so there is no lack of alternatives.

Get a 1st World health care system. Those that don't like it can move to Sudan or Chad and be happy.

Re:Competition between governments (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301193)

As you mentioned, this system is available in 3rd world countries. Those third world countries are also different from western culture in other ways, such as respect for the rule of law, individual rights(1), etc.

(1) "Individual rights" in the sense of not being interfered with. You can argue that having people help you, for example, by paying for your medical care is an individual right too. But the US obviously does not respect those.

Re:Competition between governments (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303755)

"works best" isn't always clear in hindsight, and some solutions are abusive to even try. If we decided to provide very little healthcare to anyone except the very wealthy, provided very few services of any kind to people, and invested very little in quality of life, we might have a very economically efficient government that would have saved enough to have an edge over other governments, but this would be neglect. Investment in quality of life is worthwhile, even if it demands some sacrifices in economic efficiency.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301129)

It seems like the only thing that isn't socialism is covering the bad bets of right wing gamblers on Wall Street. All trillion dollars of it.

Have you been paying attention AT ALL?!? TONS of people on the right have been screaming "socialism" at the top of their lungs since the beginning of this problem. I know quite a few who refused to vote for McCain just because he supported the bailout.

Re:Do not want (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303345)

If the US had a national health care system like every other major first world nation
We do. Do you really want your health care to be like Medicare?

Besides, Obama is working on it. It's called "Health Care Reform".

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27300205)

The thing to remember is that even paper records can be hacked easily through social engineering. And they are stored in plaintext. Granted it would be more difficult to get tens of thousands of them, but the point still stands. Ideally these types of documents should be strongly encrypted. I don't know if this is mandated in the database in TFA, but it should be. One argument for having the government in charge for this is to make sure things are standardized properly (though I suppose if the insurers and hospitals got together to make a standardized record that could work too) As it is now there is more than one way the same data is stored, and the number of forms with nearly identical information is absurd. And it's all in plaintext, if you get your hands on it.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27300695)

There are a lot more serious privacy problems [sfgate.com] than modern, secure medical data transfer. It's possible that your medical information has already been transmitted in an unspecified manner overseas and beyond the reach of US law enforcement because health care companies can save a nickel or two per line of medical transcription.

I'm all for taking reasonable precautions with this data but we're not especially careful with it now so this plan seems reasonable.

Re:Do not want (1)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300863)

The thing that worries me is the amount of information sharing, it seems that this is just ripe for abuse, data theft, data loss, and misinformation. I would love it if just my doctor had access to my medical records instead of everyone and their brother.

Anyone can have my medical information, as long as only my doctor can associate it with me.

So is the open source backend using the OpenEHR data standards, or did someone re-invent the wheel yet again? I see no mention of OpenEHR in the article.

BBH

Re:Do not want (1)

Gerald (9696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301575)

Maybe your medical (and financial) records should be DRMed?

I'm only half joking. If you buy the music and movie industries' argument it's such a great idea, why shouldn't it be applied for the benefit of consumers?

Re:Do not want (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302129)

Which is a good idea until you get an accident in a place that doesn't have contracts with your healthcare company.

Re:Do not want (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27305723)

No way, they're going to put these on IIS servers. I mean how much more secure could they get.

In reality though, the data will get stolen and then they'll tell people it's okay, because really what have you got to hide.

I can't wait though to gain access to all those SS numbers. Kind of like a government bailout plan for hackers.

Sounds good to me (2, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299811)

I realise that a lot of geeks care a lot more about their privacy than I do, and this might be bad news for them, but personally I would love not to have those endless forms to fill out every time I see a new doctor, and it would be very handy if I had access to all my medical records through a web browser.

The difference between having this and not having this is akin to investments/banks that provide web interfaces and those that don't - I have one credit union account that's not on the web and it's kind of irritating that I have to physically show up (or wait for a statement) to check the balance on it. All the rest are conveniently available to me whenever I want to bother logging in.

Re:Sounds good to me (2, Insightful)

uberdilligaff (988232) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300009)

The problem is that you only see the benefits. Others point out the prospect for insecure systems and operators being breached, and your information getting loose -- that's a concern. But I worry much more about the the absolutely certain demand that will come from the insurance companies to get wholesale access to all patient data from any physician who 'participates' with the insurer. The financial incentives will make it impossible for doctors to refuse. The result will be major increases in insurance companies' ability to identify and correlate all sorts of pre-existing conditions, and selectively deny coverage on a scale that has never been seen before. Be careful what you wish for....

Re:Sounds good to me (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300107)

Well, if you understand that I don't care too much about my privacy, you see that the negatives arn't very big for me. I also have the benefit of working for a university - my insurance is at a flat rate, they can't refuse me coverage, etc. I realise this isn't the case for everyone though..

In the long run I hope we reform our insurance system so that the coverage concern you raise can be addressed. Thanks for bringing it up - I had forgotten about that concern.

Re:Sounds good to me (2, Insightful)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300605)

You raise valid points regarding the problems of giving the insurance industry too much data to play with. However, I'm reluctant to start restricting our ability to share possibly life-saving data, in an efficient fashion, out of fear of our broken health insurance system.

Re:Sounds good to me (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302961)

If you are worried about insurance companies acting like insurance companies, you should just advocate for a switch towards some sort of universal payer system (because denying the companies the ability to discriminate based on the thing they are insuring means that costs end up shared anyway).

Re:Sounds good to me (1)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302023)

You'll still have to answer all the stupid questions, they will just have the answers there to compare them to. I asked about this last time I went to see my doctor. I got a vague answer from the nurse, but it's probably CYA to avoid lawsuits. The mere fact that they have a list of what meds you were on yesterday and you say "same as yesterday" apparently isn't enough. I expect the medical practitioners' insurance companies and legal counselors require them to do this.

Re:Sounds good to me (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303659)

How can you know before the system rolls out what the answer is going to be?

Re:Sounds good to me (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 5 years ago | (#27302613)

There are compromises:

What about a system where you have a card with a chip on it that stores all your medical info (locally), but requires your fingerprint be read into a local scanner to decrypt it? That way, if someone stole your purse you wouldn't necessarily lose your privacy, but you'd have a convenient way of carrying the information with you. In case of emergency where you don't have your card, a special request could be put in (and would require your fingerprint to access the data that way as well) and the data could be sent on a specific machine that is secured solely for the purpose of getting this data, rather than through a web browser. No forms to fill out (it's all on your card) but you can also keep your data somewhat secure.

Personally, I loathe the idea of health information being on the web, but not so much for my privacy as for the privacy of people who have medical conditions that have a high social stigma associated with them. I don't care if someone finds out I had pneumonia 2 years ago or mono when I was a teen; someone who is HIV+, who is transgender, or who has been a victim of sexual assault, for example, might have an entirely different take, with stakes quite a bit higher than the typical person.

Re:Sounds good to me (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303713)

The compromises make more sense for other people - I don't want any information that I might lose or need to bring with me - I would prefer my health information be in a database that's backed-up and available to anyone in the medical profession that might need it. There are laws protecting against disclosure for these things.

I understand that others might feel differently, but I really don't care much about privacy. If someone else had HIV or were the victim of sexual assault, I wouldn't treat them much differently (and all the transgender thing would likely do is cause me to think of them as being of their genetic gender). I realise that not all of society is like this though...

Pill Heads (1, Troll)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299869)

Hopefully this will keep those worthless Baby Boomers from prematurely bankrupting Social Security with multiple prescriptions for their endless psychological disorders and sports injuries.

Re:Pill Heads (3, Informative)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300465)

Hopefully this will keep those worthless Baby Boomers from prematurely bankrupting Social Security with multiple prescriptions for their endless psychological disorders and sports injuries.

You were modded Troll, but you make a good point. Baby boomers have got to be the biggest pack of whiny, self-indulgent motherfuckers that ever lived on this planet. Even though they are all getting old now, they still act like a bunch of goddamn teenagers. The sooner they die off, the better America will be.

Re:Pill Heads (4, Insightful)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301213)

Baby boomers have got to be the biggest pack of whiny, self-indulgent motherfuckers that ever lived on this planet. Even though they are all getting old now, they still act like a bunch of goddamn teenagers. The sooner they die off, the better America will be.

A correction: "Social Security" is OASDI, a "trust fund" of government debt that will start to be drawn down in 2017 and exhausted by 2041, at least according to the last projections by the Social Security Trustees [socialsecurity.gov] .

"Prescriptions for endless psychological disorders and sports injuries" are covered by Medicare: a separately funded program. It in even worse shape -- the "trust fund" is expected to be exhausted by 2017 [hhs.gov] .

Some of us baby boomers have been pointing out the problems with both programs for the last 30 years, and have been effectively told by previous generations to STFU. But at this point, Social Security alone has collected about $500,000 from me (assuming a modest rate of return).

I didn't plan to depend on Social Security benefits. But, my expectation is that I will need them just to pay the increased income taxes that will be required to fund the current administration's spending spree. So, I will offer you the same advice given to me when I was in your position: STFU.

Re:Pill Heads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302283)

The current administration's spending spree has a good deal to do with the Baby Boomer's participation in mortgage fraud. Although if you didn't sell your house during the past 10 years for a ridiculous price, I can see how you'd be frustrated.

Re:Pill Heads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302421)

As a person who will be 60 when Social Security is exhausted and will have the same tax burden you mentioned, here's an extra STFU for you!

Re:Pill Heads (2, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304247)

Another problem is the "tax base" thingy that effectively makes FICA one of the most regressive taxes in existence.

Taking a smaller slice of a bigger pie would make things fairer.

But oh noes, it would make the rich fatcats actually notice how much they are paying.

Get rid of the stupid cap and make sure the rich chip in their two cents. If you're freaking rich, a few thousand dollars in SS taxes will be to you what a handful of change is to the average joe.

In fact, if we got rid of the cap and made SS taxes a mere 1 percent of your income, I would propose that there would be a net gain.

Re:Pill Heads (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27305857)

Another problem is the "tax base" thingy that effectively makes FICA one of the most regressive taxes in existence.

Yes, about half of wage earners in the US pay more in payroll taxes (FICA and Medicare) than federal income taxes.

But oh noes, it would make the rich fatcats actually notice how much they are paying.

No, they would simply shift their compensation to non-wage income.

In fact, if we got rid of the cap and made SS taxes a mere 1 percent of your income, I would propose that there would be a net gain.

You would be wrong.

http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8885/EffectiveTaxRates.shtml [cbo.gov]

See Summary Table 1. Note the effective tax rate for social insurance taxes was already 1.7% for the top 1% of US taxpayers in 2005. Of course, if you are proposing that your 1% is actually 2% (1% from employee + 1% from employer), then their effective rate was close to what you propose.

But, that refutes your proposal: there's no way that you can lower everyone else's contribution to 1% (or 2% combined) and maintain the existing revenue, much less increase it. Plus, remember that FICA and Medicare are payroll taxes, and is not assessed on non-wage income like dividends and capital gains.

In fact, the table in question tells you the effective rate for social insurance taxes on all pre-tax income: 7.6% for all quintiles in 2005.

Summary Table 2 also refutes any contention that upper income isn't paying their share: The top 20% paid 43.6% of social insurance taxes in 2005. The top 40% paid 68.7% of social insurance taxes.

Read that again: The top 2/5th of taxpayers paid over 2/3rds of the social insurance taxes in 2005.

Current disability queue times (4, Informative)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299931)

When you file for long-term disability with Social Security, they need to grab all of the recent medical records from your primary physician and all the specialists you're seeing. This process takes a long time, generates a ton of redundant paperwork (many dupes of lab work and such that went to multiple places), and isn't very accurate. I went through this a few years ago with my mother. One of the physicians didn't respond in time to the request they sent for more information, stuff that was pretty critical. We believe that was one of the factors causing her initial claim and first appeal to be denied.

That was over four years ago; her case is just coming up for the final review now. That's how big the backlog is here, and medical records processing time is one of the big drivers to the process.

At the point where you're applying for Social Security disability, your medical records are no longer really private anyway. They're going to scour everything available to confirm that what's happened to you is both permanent and real.

Re:Current disability queue times (3, Interesting)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300039)

4 fucking years?

Are you serious? That's ridiculous to the point of being almost unbelievable. If I hadn't had to deal with a similar situation with my grandparents, I wouldn't have believed you.

In their case, it was resolved in just a couple months.

(which is also ridiculous)

From a government worker's perpective, what's the big deal? I mean, you go in day after day and do the same job. No reason to hurry, cause if you do then there's just more files going to be waiting for you. Just like the DMV. *sigh*

Re:Current disability queue times (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301219)

I can verify what he says. Four years isn't hard to believe.

Re:Current disability queue times (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27305979)

I'll verify both of these and add that insurance companies aren't much better.

I never knew why I'd go into stores and see cans for donations for so and so because they need this medical procedure. It took us over a month to get my brother moved over to a new group in Medicare and it was almost impossible to get care from the insurance companies for my Mother.

After endless hours on phones, driving to doctors offices, filling out forms, you begin to wonder if that can thing will work.
After dealing with all of this crap, I am solidly totally in favor of a National Healthcare system.
My preference is that is would have the same amenities , no more and no less, that members of congress get. Then if the system gets broke they can and will fix it.

Re:Current disability queue times (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300549)

This new system will reject you in a much more timely matter so you no longer have to die of your illness without the headache!

All joking aside, I hope your mother gets the treatment she deserves.

The system is horrible. It is outrageous that they take our hard earned money our entire life and then we have to beg to get some it back for something we actually need.

Social security really needs to be voluntary. Right now the excuse is medical records. There'll always be an excuse for why they can't get you what you need and rightfully deserve.

Just remember, ... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303555)

Social Security isn't a bank account. It is an inter-generational support system. The money deducted from your paycheck isn't for you later, it is for older people now. When you reach retirement, younger people will be paying for you.

The problem is, the system is predicated on the idea of there always being more young people to pay for fewer old people. As long as there is a high birth rate and the population is increasing, we're fine. Unfortunately, the population isn't growing due to a high birth rate, it is growing because of immigration. Not all of the immigrants are paying into Social Security and they certainly aren't paying a lot in. Also, most of the high paying factory jobs are gone now. Over all, Social Security is bringing in a lot less than it used to.

And there are a lot more old people around now.

A significant challenge for the future is balancing the number of old people against what the government can support. We're going to have to flush some of them out of the system earlier than they might like. That means spending less on Medicare and less on Social Security. Maybe we can just get a law passed that says it is illegal to treat anyone over 60. That would help. Maybe make it illegal to rent to them also. Those old folks won't make it through too many winters out on the streets.

Problem solved.

Re:Just remember, ... (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27306015)

So what we need are more octo-mom's.

So this is why the last administration didn't want to spend money on sex education, it was their big plan to save SS.

Re:Current disability queue times (1)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304053)

The amount she's due is actually quite small, and doesn't impact her medical treatment--just her dignity as it leaves her relying on others for money more than she'd like. As someone who only worked sporadically before and after raising children, the monthly amount she's entitled to is approximately one week worth of what you get when collecting unemployment benefits for example. I can't decide if that makes that her case has been floating around for so long more or less outrageous.

Re:Current disability queue times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27302443)

Four years? You must be lying. Every proponent of UHC KNOWS that the overhead and efficiency of
Social Security and Medicare are the lowest on the planet. If it takes four years for Social Security to put
someone on disability that would mean that it takes either 20 years (or 5x the money) for a private insurance
company to do the same.

disclaimer: For anyone that missed it, the previous paragraph was sarcasm based on endless debates with
people who think that the private sector has 30% more overhead that the federal government.

Just another insecure system based upon SSNs (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300081)

Who's taking bets on how soon insurance and marketing companies get access? And then use it against you.

Re:Just another insecure system based upon SSNs (3, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300167)

A question from someone with limited knowledge of the American health system - how much information do your insurance companies get? I mean, they must have access to critical medical info if they are to pay for procedures, drugs and such.

Re:Just another insecure system based upon SSNs (1)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300347)

Who's taking bets on how soon insurance and marketing companies get access? And then use it against you.

Just the other day I went to my doctor for a routine checkup. Then yesterday I visited my dentist to take care of a cavity.

Today I took my car in to get the oil changed and they gave me a sample bag with an air freshener, cavity fighting toothpaste, and penis enlargement pills.

Really, it's nobody's business that I get cavities!

Re:Just another insecure system based upon SSNs (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300411)

Remember all of those credit rating sites that ended up being nothing more than access points for "bill collectors" and arbiters? Same thing repackaged. Just wait for more random calls from some guy in Buffalo.

Equal screwing for all... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300577)

Who's taking bets on how soon insurance and marketing companies get access? And then use it against you.

Soon, it won't be but a mouse-click away for "Big Brother" to correlate and compare the triple-cheesburger purchase you made on you (G-Bank of Ameridebt) credit card with the G-Med records system that has the nasty doctors note about your bad cholesterol levels. Don't worry, they'll adjust your rate for you...weekly.

Re:Equal screwing for all... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301555)

Credit card companies and supermarkets(did you think that they offered you those "club cards" because they wanted to you save money?) already give away your purchases and even personal information to anybody who's willing to pay for their marketing data.

LAMP for a high-priced Genie... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300437)

"...open-source software..."

"...enable secure access..."

"... regardless of location or the applications that are being used."

So in other words, it's the world most expensive installation of LAMP with SSL, isn't it?

If it's anything more complex than this, it probably shouldn't be, but since the Government is involved...well 'nuff said.

True purpose (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300501)

The true purpose should be obvious. Social Security cannot survive, so they're going to try to cut it down as much as possible, weeding out as many as they can. I'm not saying that is good or bad - Social Security should not exist at all, so no ethical judgments can be made about its individual actions, except to say that they're all bad moves. If they announced an irrevocable plan for shutting it all down, then I could said that is a good thing, insofar as it actually cannot be revoked.

Re:True purpose (3, Interesting)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27300823)

What the!? Someone else that thinks Social Security shouldn't exist at all? I thought there were only two of us and that my second personality didn't technically count... hmmm.

Re:True purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301181)

At least your "other" has the balls to stand up and admit that he's weeding out the sick and infirm. Nobody's been able to publicly admit that since Planned Parenthood was founded.

Re:True purpose (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27301495)

I love how everyone acts like people just regularly died in the streets before there was social security. Long before there was social security there were friends, families, churches, community groups, clubs, etc. People supported each other. Now we've just turned that support into a poorly handled tax program that wastes as much as it hands out.

The entire process of determining need is a perfect example of this waste. When you've known someone for 10 years or you live next door to them it's pretty easy to determine whether they really need money for help.

Re:True purpose (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301553)

I know I used to die in the streets daily before Social Security came along.

Now I just die in spirit.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27300857)

Bring it on! This could be very lucrative.

BTW: Can I interest you in any prescription drugs?

line item opt out (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301007)

Has anyone ever anywhere suggested a line item opt out?

I know there are people out there who feel the need to keep health secrets. Probably they are clinically paranoid, but that's not the issue I'm discussing here (although I will make fun of them anyway).

Why not have a line item opt out?

Normal or highly extroverted people would not opt out of any line item because they don't care. Most old people I know seem to greatly enjoy telling everyone about their operations and such, so the old people's unwillingness to learn something new would be no problem.

People whom in my opinion are unbalanced would opt out of absolutely every line. And that's perfectly OK. Of course if a parent opts out a line for their kids stating they are allergic to bee stings, and the kid dies of a bee sting, who gets the blame?

Personally I couldn't care less if everyone on slashdot learns I am allergic to amoxocilian and I had a mild bout of pneumonia back in 04 that was cured in about 4 hours with a three pack of zithromycin. But IF I had something to hide, I'd just log in and click "hide" and away it goes like it never happened.

Doesn't seem like much of a technological challenge.

Another interesting option would be a nationwide registry of stuff you'd WANT to publicize, like allergies. Sign a release form and the dr will post it. That seems like a blindingly good idea in general.

Re:line item opt out (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303385)

You aren't thinking that through at all.

You say only paranoid people would have an issue. So, I suppose a woman who was treated for a sexual assault and doesn't want everyone on the planet knowing about it would be clinically paranoid to want to opt out? I suppose a man who is HIV+ and doesn't want to broadcast his status for fear of social repercussions is paranoid if he doesn't want to share his records with the world? Are they "clinically paranoid?"

If the data gets stolen (and it will - we can't even keep information on our nuclear weapons programs safe), whoever takes it won't be interested in John Doe's eczema or Jane Doe's bursitis; they'll do a search for the good stuff and use the fact that John Smith is HIV+ or that Jane Smith was raped and terminated the resultant pregnancy, and they'll use that information to blackmail those people.

You also have a rather naive view of the chances that glitches will occur. What happens when the inevitable software glitches occur and people wind up inadvertently hiding things that they don't care to hide or revealing things they want to keep to themselves? What happens when a relevant condition in a patient is accidentally hidden and the doctor prescribes something that mixes poorly with another condition?

It's not paranoia. It may be hard for you to imagine, but there are people in the world who have things they want to keep hidden, and their desire to do so is hardly paranoia - it's extremely sensible.

Re:line item opt out (1)

jdoverholt (1229898) | more than 5 years ago | (#27303391)

I'm curious why I never hear anybody suggest a strictly opt-in system, with a disclosure contract required at sign-up time. It should explain the risks inherent in any such system, as well as spell out in detail exactly who is going to be allowed access to your data. A purely opt-in should keep the privacy pundits quiet... relatively, anyway. Legislation could accompany prohibiting any agency from discriminating based on participation.

Likewise, they could implement some sort of temporary authentication mechanism for the data "customers" providing them access to some subset of the data for some specified period of time — analogous to a HIPAA medical record release form. Surely a system could be engineered better than a single read-write BLOB field where everybody gets access. As with government classified systems they must simply ensure that the lowest access required is what is given to customers. Doctors would likely need a great deal of access, patients should probably have total access, insurance companies might need to know IF a certain procedure was done and if so by whom but only for current customers of theirs. I obviously haven't thought this through from all angles, but you get the idea. Easy as pi.

Don't get me wrong, I believe whole-heartedly that "the system" is severely broken as is and that any good thing to come along will just as surely become a tool for devious purposes. I also think that such a potentially useful tool and permitting its use by educated and informed consumers shouldn't be canned based on what harm could come of its abuse. Care must be taken, that's all. Protect this new IT asset against attackers (thieves, insurance agencies, etc) by sound engineering practices and peer review, and protect it from the broken bureaucracy with sound legislation.

Re:line item opt out (1)

jerdenn (86993) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304063)

Has anyone ever anywhere suggested a line item opt out?

Yes - Canada has the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) which has what is referred to as the concept of "Lock box." The idea is that you may direct a healthcare provider to not disclose certain data about you. When sharing data, the provider is allowed to disclose that there is additional "lock box" data.

Re:line item opt out (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27304253)

I know there are people out there who feel the need to keep health secrets. Probably they are clinically paranoid, but that's not the issue I'm discussing here (although I will make fun of them anyway).

let me guess, you're 20something or even younger. and in perfect health.

in 10, 20 or so years, you'll come to rely more and more on healthcare. you'll come to realize that its no one damned business but your own.

my views changed as I got older. I saw it happen and did not take the view that I now have. time meant everything.

at least consider I could be right. soften your tone a bit if you don't mind my advice.

(and get off my damned lawn!)

Learn from the past: GJXDM, NIEM, N-DEX (2, Interesting)

Andy_w715 (612829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301177)

lets hope this doesn't turn into the cluster-f that we have with justice data. A schema the length of the bible, 4 different versions that no one is sure which to use, and a competing system running down the same path. And this is all dealing with intra-governmental agencies! No private sector here.

That's a LOAD! (2, Informative)

Bunderfeld (1113805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301307)

Sorry friends, but this is just plain wrong.

Being someone that has just finished going thru the whole damn Disability process, this is mis-information designed to make the SSA look good.

The problem isn't that the records don't arrive in a timely manner, the real issue is the ridiculous way SSA goes about processing requests.

After filing my Disability Claim, two months later, SSA asks me to go see one of their "approved" Doctors. I arrived for my appointment, was taken to an exam room, and when the Doctor came in was greeted with, "So, what brings you to my office?" I had to explain to him I was here for a Disability exam. He asked me why I was in pain, to which I replied I had ACM (http://www.wacma.com) and he said, "What's that?" This is when I figured out the government sent me to a Physiarist (Muscle Doctor) when my issues are Neurological. This Doctor gave me a10 minute exam, not even a Neurological Exam, and then said "Thanks, you can leave". Of course, his report claimed I was fine, and of course, SSA denied my claim.

After this I filed my appeal, got an attorney to handle it, and waited, and waited, and waited. Three years went by, and finally I got my Disability Hearing this past February. I received my Disability Hearing Results in 2 weeks, and was found to be fully Disabled and part of the record reads that the Judge gave NO WEIGHT to the Govt., Doctor because he didn't exam me correctly.

The facts speak clearly for themselves. 99% of the first filing for Disability are Denied. Those that file an appeal, 75% are approved. The problem, and of course this is govt. so that explains a lot, is that the SSA is denying claims hoping to get rid of the fakers, but then making millions of people wait for hearings when they know they are disabled.

Sorry, this "getting records" quickly BS won't make anything quicker, knowing the govt,. it will somehow slow it down.

One last fact for you to chew on, when I got notice of my Hearing, it was 30 days before the hearing. The Court and Atty., were able to received updated Medical Records from my Hospital and Doctors in a timely manner and were there quickly enough to be added into the record and burned on a CD. Not sure why they now claim they don't get records in a timely manner.



Bob

Fire Sale time ! (1)

up2ng (110551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27301445)

Just like in Die Hard 4 !
SSA computer room is secure, right?

the reach of e-gov't (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 5 years ago | (#27305751)

Social Security Administration Launches E-Health Info Exchange"

.

Funny, from that title (and article), I originally thought: 'so the SSA is taking over DHS' since they can't find one legit and sane person to run it. Then, SSA running healthcare? We sure F'ed now...

.

Then I read TFA and all was well again, back to regular politics.

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