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Larry Page: You Worry Too Much About Medical Privacy

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the what's-wrong-with-you dept.

Medicine 486

jfruh writes "Larry Page revealed that he'd been suffering from a vocal cord ailment that impaired his ability to speak for more than a year. The positive feedback he got from opening up about it inspired him to tell attendees at Google I/O that we should all be less uptight about keeping our medical records private. As far as Page is concerned, pretty much the only legitimate reason for worry on this score is fear of being denied health insurance. 'Maybe we should change the rules around insurance so that they have to insure people,' he said."

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486 comments

Well, he's not afraid his company might fire him.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748595)

... for some fishy reason if it gets out he has some "scary disease" or won't work as efficient anymore. Or might drop out at any time for a week.

And it is also not that his penis had a malfunction or something.

I think Larry Page generalises too much, has too much of an agenda, hasn't gotten that not everyone follows the same religion, needs to shut up and retire so he can spend his money on philantropy. I like Bill Gates much more since he stopped babbling his technology-and-business-bullshit and actually put the billions fate threw at him for something useful.

Larry Page isn't getting a third of what he thinks he got.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (5, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#43748631)

Indeed "The only reason to worry about medical privacy is the GIANT FUCKING ELEPANT IN THE ROOM that can potentially TOTALLY SCREW OVER the vast majority of people in the country" And the rich wonder why people think they're out of touch.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (2, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#43748697)

'Maybe we should change the rules around insurance so that they have to insure people,' Larry Page said."

Yes, we can have the rules changed, but then, they too can change the rules

If we are too force the insurance to accept all people, they can make their insurance policy so expensive that only the rich can afford

After all, who is in business to make a lost ?

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (4, Informative)

gumbi west (610122) | about a year ago | (#43748769)

Starting in 2014 in the US, this will be the law of the land--companies will have to insure anyone, regardless of existing conditions. It is also the law in MA right now.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748843)

and, as he points, out, the insurance will not be affordable and additionally many of the plans will actually end up being inferior to what many had before.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (3, Insightful)

JLennox (942693) | about a year ago | (#43748879)

MA is not doing anyone favoures.

Unless a company buys you health insurance you can only enroll in July. In the mean time they will penalize your already high state taxes for every month you do not have insurance. Keep in mind it's not a 'fine,' thatd be unconstitutional!

The logic behind this is people with no insurance avoid going to the dr, their ailments turn into bad conditions that they must get treated, then skip out on the bill. This money supposedly compensates for this.

Health insurance is, how ever, prohibitely expensive so they push high deductible plans for 300/month. High deductible plans... You mean the sort of insurance that causes people to avoid the dr?

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748785)

Yes, but the poor have one final ace to play. If the rich go too far in trying to exploit the poor, the poor can rise up and put all of the rich assholes against the wall. While new rich assholes will invariably rise up again, the current crop would not have a very fun time. Google 'kulak' for an example.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (4, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#43749067)

The days of "the poor rising up against the rich" in a first world country are long over, because the rich now have the large middle class military and police forces to beat the poor back into submission whenever they get out of hand.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749061)

Quoth: "After all, who is in business to make a lost ?" Buena Vista Television made 121 episodes. You're a touch audience...

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749017)

This is why he wants to setup a regulation free experiment somewhere. He won't have to touch any of the poors by accident.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748749)

No kidding. I'd love to see how little medical privacy meant to him if he had a mental illness and was looking for a job and housing. Medical privacy laws don't exist because we're all bashful. They exist because people have been persecuted and discriminated against for medical and mental health issues.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (5, Insightful)

Macgrrl (762836) | about a year ago | (#43748807)

Not just mental illness - which is already overly stigmatised. But what if you had early symptoms or markers for degenerative diseases such as early onset Alzheimer's or something similar.

I was recently diagnosed with cancer that was triggered by an auto immune disease. I've had surgery and my prognosis is extremely good, but there's lots of cancers out there with a high probability of reoccurring.

My sister has a related auto immune disease but got juvenile arthritis instead. MY husband suffers from extreme chronic obstructive sleep apnea which was initially mis-diagnosed as a mental illness and then epilepsy as his symptoms escalated while we searched for a correct treatment.

I'm not sure the first thing I would say to a prospective employer is that I've had cancer, anymore than they should be able to ask whether we intend to have kids.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748905)

Not to sound harsh, but why shouldn't an employer be able to know if one of their employees is likely to go postal? And why should a small business have to go bankrupt just because one of their employees developed some rare and incredibly expensive heart disease or gets 'depressed' every other year and can't work?

Medical privacy only helps those who want to con the system or hurt others. Unemployment is high enough as it is. It would be far lower if we cut free the freeloaders.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748927)

kill yourself

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749155)

killing Larry Page would be more productive.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (0)

Smonson78 (2728057) | about a year ago | (#43749069)

I hope they remember to put that antisocial personality disorder on your public record.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (5, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#43749125)

Medical privacy only helps those who want to con the system or hurt others. Unemployment is high enough as it is. It would be far lower if we cut free the freeloaders.

The freeloaders who just want to get treatment but get charged 5x what the insurance companies end up paying because they don't have the power to negotiate? The freeloaders who have paid thousands into private health insurance without taking any benefits and then lose their job, can't pay, and get NONE of that money back when they need it? Or the freeloaders who are completely avoiding doctor visits to avoid getting any preventative care or diagnoses they need in order to keep pre-existing conditions from appearing on their health records (and end up costing the insurance companies and/or the government 100x what it would have if they had dealt with their issues earlier)?

The fact is, healthcare costs would be far lower if we had a single payer system. Cover EVERYONE at a federal level, then none of your concerns about private corporate interest are relevant.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748771)

I like Bill Gates much more since he stopped babbling his technology-and-business-bullshit and actually put the billions fate threw at him for something useful.

Gates' charitable projects work hand-in-glove with his business interests: all of the projects he funds require that recipients purchase Microsoft software. In a sense, he never did retire. It's hard to see him as a philantropist until he steps back and thinks about how the world might be a better place if organizations didn't have to put so much of their limited financial resources into software.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year ago | (#43749161)

all of the projects he funds require that recipients purchase Microsoft software

That is so idiotically wrong I'm not even sure what to say.

He's given $1.3 BILLION FUCKING DOLLARS to fight AIDS, TB, and malaria in 3rd world countries (and that's just 1 project of the dozens he is funding). So, what, the plan is a tribal African family with no running water (let alone Internet) buys a new copy of Windows 8 and gets their children vaccinated?

Re:Well, bill gates with few million here or there (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748951)

I like Bill Gates much more since he stopped babbling his technology-and-business-bullshit and actually put the billions fate threw at him for something useful.

Right a few million here or there out of the billions he has stole with monopolizing has really helped out the 3rd world countries, or cured cancer or even solved how to cure hiv/aids. Please tell me that your statement about Bill Gates is a poor attempt at humor!! He probably rights it off as a tax deductible anyway.

I am not going to give Page any different treatment, he just happened into his job he has only helped himself/companies bottom line. A throat ailment is a far cry from what others suffer. Just for that statement and the idiots who kissed his ass over his aliment I vote to bring back stoning people to death.

How and why was this modded up?

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (2)

jandersen (462034) | about a year ago | (#43748977)

See, this is one of the reasons why we in Europe have public health care: your fate and health depends less on people that actually have an interest in not helping you when need it; ie, insurance companies.

I don't know about Larry Page - to me he is just another suit that got lucky. I have worked in software engineering for over 20 years, and I have never worked out why people like him are admired; they are always shallow, sometimes embarrasingly ignorant about things and a bit deficient, morally and otherwise. Which is why the got rich, really.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (4, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43749007)

Well, he's not afraid his company might fire him..

He is also in the data business. If the government started enforcing privacy regulations his company might end up liable. There is also a big potential profit in getting ever more specific information about you that can be used or sold. Getting medical data to mine is a huge win on many levels.

Re:Well, he's not afraid his company might fire hi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749107)

Or might stop him from driving in some states or countries because he had uncontrolled epilepsy (or similar feinting diseases) at some point in his life but is properly medicated now.

Talking your own book (5, Insightful)

Taantric (2587965) | about a year ago | (#43748601)

In the financial trading industry we have a term for those pundits who come on Bloomberg or CNBC and give advice on markets, stocks etc - they are talking their own book. So If they are extolling the virtues of a stock or a currency it usually means they are holding a large position in it themselves. Here we see Ole Larry talking his own book. These assholes would have you bare your entire life for them so they may sell you more shit you don't need. Fuck you Larry Page and Fuck you Google.

Re:Talking your own book (0)

ObjectiveSubjective (2828749) | about a year ago | (#43748743)

you are so fucking right. FUCK Larry Page and FUCK google. What a fucking pompous asshole douchbag piece of shit

Re:Talking your own book (4, Informative)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43748747)

Exactly. Definitely talking his own book. Especially after failing miserably at having Google Health take hold at all, either amongst patients or amongst doctors, or hospitals, or even insurance providers. Google Health [wikipedia.org] dropped with an empty thud as loud as Microsoft's Zune. Google never figured out how to make money off of it, even though it figured out it could avoid HIPAA restrictions by having people voluntarily enroll in it [wikipedia.org] and freakin' voluntarily give up their privacy.
.
An idiot with a vested interest in invading our privacy tells us "we worry too much about medical privacy". No thanks, I don't care to hear the rest of his opinion or even an attempt at an explanation for why he holds that position. He's just "talking his own book", mate.

Not even close (5, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#43748609)

The only reason to worry is to be insured? How about not being discriminated against in all kinds of areas (namely job hunting)? How about not pissing off a girlfriend when you have to clear up a STD from an Ex or a bad decision? How about not wanting the family to know you have a terminal disease?

There are many reasons we want to keep our health issues private. I'm not going to discount that being able to talk to someone is helpful, but that is not even close to making them available to everyone all the time.

Re:Not even close (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748651)

Both Larry and Sergei are no longer connected with reality.. I don't begrudge them anything, but they are seriously in outer space.

Re:Not even close (0, Offtopic)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#43748679)

Makes one wonder, or at least I think it should, how much of the Bilderberg NWO conspiracy stuff is really going on. Anyone connected to reality would have thoughts along the lines of what I wrote. I really doubt that he is that big of an idiot, so is he pushing an agenda?

Re:Not even close (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748893)

since he's making a goddam fool of himself, if he's pushing an agenda, it would have to be the opposite of what he seems to be suggesting.

so... ``worry about your medical privacy." i guess it contributes to the world of fear and paranoia, but it's not exactly the burning of the reichstag.

Re:Not even close (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748715)

Well, Sergey does work at the X lab where they are supposedly working on a space elevator...

Re:Not even close (1)

Mitsoid (837831) | about a year ago | (#43748805)

I would tend to agree.. I love what they've done.. But their 100% job security (alone) makes their viewpoint skewed (not necessarily bad.. just different)...

They no longer have to worry about potential employers accessing their facebook/g+ account.. or their potential employment.. or ability to pay for things (like insurance)... I've gone through and sanitized (deleted) my accounts with services twice over the last 5-6 years to help make sure i leave less footprints for the future... I'm sure their understanding (and ability to remove) such content is a lot better.

Re:Not even close (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#43748831)

Both Larry and Sergei are no longer connected with reality.. I don't begrudge them anything, but they are seriously in outer space.

I would add Eric to the list as well. There must be something in the water at Mountain View. Or maybe Google has a RDF [wikipedia.org] that's more powerful than Apple's. Something very bizarre is coming out of their mouths.

Perhaps it's what happens when one is a Glasshole [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Not even close (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43749073)

I don't begrudge them anything, but they are seriously in outer space.

That can happen when you rise to the heights of power [nationalreview.com] in politics, or stand on really large mountains of cash [forbes.com] in industry, or take up residence in much of academia.

Re:Not even close (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43749131)

Both Larry and Sergei are no longer connected with reality.. I don't begrudge them anything, but they are seriously in outer space.

which is kind of funny.

imagine having all the data in the world but being disconnected from reality still.

Re:Not even close (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748655)

+1k

Re:Not even close (1)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | about a year ago | (#43748709)

Opening up all the statistical information contained in the medial records of the entire population could certainly be a massive benefit to the whole of humanity.

The usefulness of the information comes from the flexibility that comes from being able to look at the data is any number of ways.

Then again, companies can already get a limited view of your medical condition by looking at what you spend your money on. Aged between 20 and 40, are female and are buying baby clothes, cots, push chairs and lotion on your visa? You're probably pregnant. Allow me to market to you directly! Think about how much they could infer when you look at GP/hospital visits and what you've been buying over the counter at the pharmacy.

We can try and save our privacy, but in the end we'll realise we gave it all away, willingly. As long as good is done with it (for the individual as well as the community), then it wont really seem that we're being coerced.

Re:Not even close (1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year ago | (#43748773)

Opening up all the statistical information contained in the medial records of the entire population could certainly be a massive benefit to the whole of humanity.

Huh? Name one benefit, just one. And no! Marketing information for some company is not a benefit to humanity. There is no benefit to opening up medical records for anyone to review. Maybe to some other species we have yet to meet, but sure as hell not to humans.

You currently go to a doctor that has your history and can make decisions based on that history. If you change doctors, you need to approve a form allowing the transfer of your old records to the new doctor. I think that your current doctor should have your history. I don't believe that your insurance company should be able to make you change doctors. Those decisions were placed in your hands for good reason.

Re:Not even close (5, Insightful)

Macgrrl (762836) | about a year ago | (#43748833)

Large scale statistical models with accurate information about medical conditions could potentially assist in planning for future health care requirements and research funding. However for all the reasons mentioned elsewhere in this thread, it should be anonymised so that individuals cannot be discriminated against based on predicted outcomes.

Re:Not even close (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748835)

He said all statistics. Doesn't need to be individualised.

If all statistics is in the same place it is much much easier to crosscompare different diseases , if you also include anonomized information on what treatment was used and how it turned out that would be a huge benefit for society.

The downside would be if companies used this information to tie it to individuals.

Re:Not even close (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748837)

Target has apparently refined their algorithm for detecting pregnancy so finely that they had to tone it down - instead of sending a packet full of baby-related coupons, they only include one or two until you use them (which confirms that you haven't had a miscarriage or an abortion). They wouldn't spill the sauce, of course, but it apparently wasn't just when you stopped buying condoms and birth control pills and started buying pregnancy tests. Here [nytimes.com] is an article from the NYT.

Re:Not even close (5, Insightful)

xystren (522982) | about a year ago | (#43748819)

When your able to build your own hospital and staff it from the pocket change you have on your bedside table, I suppose there would be no reason to fear not being insured. And if you have that, you have no fear of being unemployed, or the stigma that may or may not goes along with any particular disease or illness. It wouldn't seem like a big deal when you can literally *buy* your way out of anything.

It's also a conflict of interest when Mr. Page is going to be making a profit from acquisition of that information. Got erectile dysfunction? I bet Larry would love to sell that information to a drug company. I don't want any more Viagra spam that I already get. Don't like a particular political candidate? I'm sure he would love to sell you some information on how that candidate had/has a STD or some other mental illness. The ways that information could be abused and Larry makes his buck off of it. No wonder he wants the masses to be less worried about our health privacy.

Mr. Larry, you made the *CHOICE* disclose your medical situation. I want that same choice - and I ain't giving it to you or Google to decide what does or doesn't get disclosed.

Re:Not even close (5, Insightful)

Reschekle (2661565) | about a year ago | (#43748855)

Umm, if you're not being open with your partner about your STD as far as I'm concerned you're a criminal and a scumbag.

insure? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748613)

just think rationally for a moment

if you insure everyone, why dont you just make sure everyone get health care.

big companies can make financial decisions about risk mitigation.

for the rest of us, the insurance companies are just parasites. they rig the game.

we need to stop discussing health, our health, in those terms

Re:insure? (4, Insightful)

blue trane (110704) | about a year ago | (#43748687)

Agreed. Health care is a right. In this day and age, no one should have to worry about not getting health care. In most advanced countries, they don't.

Re:insure? (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about a year ago | (#43748853)

Health care is not a human right. It is a privilege. If you really felt that way (that it is a right), you would extend that to everyone in the world to get at least some health care, whereas the current 1st world understanding is that only they get complete and total coverage and the absolute best care for everything that may ever happen to them. I travel the world extensively in almost entirely with the poor and needy. I can tell you, there is not much attention given to them, while back home in the US, everyone is wondering whether they will be given a $100k surgery for free to fix their bad toe nail (obviously, an exaggeration).

Re:insure? (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43748903)

One small problem:

Define "Health care" as a "right".

Does this "right" include exorbitant measures to extend life? Would it include plastic surgery (you know, for self-esteem reasons)? Does this "right" diminish with age, since old people getting a scarce resource (e.g. organ transplants) wouldn't see nearly the benefit from it that a younger patient would? I could go on, but you get the point. Obviously there has to be limits on what should go into health care. That said, it's one thing to set those limits impersonally. It's another to see these limits in action when it's your spouse, parent, or child that runs up against them.

BTW - two things:

1) since when does a right include automatic access to another's labor? Speech, privacy, and all the fun rights listed in the US Constitution don't require another's labor, time, or money. Your "right" to health care does. Why is that?

2) If I choose not to exercise an enumerated right (again, c.f. US Constitution), it costs me nothing. If I choose not to exercise this "right" to health care, I still have to pay for it. What the hell?

Re:insure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749101)

1) They're still getting paid. Everyone chips in because they might need it someday.

2) This is just more "I'm fine so fuck you" mentality. When you come out of your libertarian utopia bunker wouldn't you prefer that all the other people aren't coughing up the plague on you?

Nope. (5, Insightful)

FrankSchwab (675585) | about a year ago | (#43748627)

Sounds like someone who wasn't around for the beginning of the AIDS epidemic (or even the current state of the AIDS epidemic).

There are some health issues that society isn't mature enough to handle. Most of them are sexual in nature - do you really want your STD diagnosis to be water-cooler conversation (Hey, Frank, who'd you pick up that case of the clap from?)? If I had a diagnosis that gave me a 25% chance of dying in the next year, I believe that I have the right to decide who knows that. How about as a potential CEO, having your anxiety disorder (handled nicely with drugs, thank you) bandied about the boardroom?

There are other health issues that are a don't-care. Paralyzed vocal cords? Bummer, dude. Here, I'll tell you one about me - I have vitiligo. Bummer, dude. Exzema? Ingrown toenail? Bummer, dude. Hell, even erectile dysfunction is a prime-time advertising bonanza.

Google + Medical + Experimentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748629)

Man, all these stupid laws and restrictions!

Re:Google + Medical + Experimentation (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | about a year ago | (#43748643)

But he just suggested a law and restriction: Forcing an insurance company to accept risk against its better judgment.

Re:Google + Medical + Experimentation (2)

blue trane (110704) | about a year ago | (#43748693)

Because figures in a ledger book are more important than people's lives.

Re:Google + Medical + Experimentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748965)

Because enslaving producers to liberal ideology is more important than anything else.

Re:Google + Medical + Experimentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749123)

Why don't you use a more clear phrase than "liberal ideology," which covers quite a lot of potential ideas.

If there's something particular in this case that's wrong with liberal ideology, just say what's wrong with it. If you can.

Re:Google + Medical + Experimentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748995)

You're right, that's a terrible idea. Instead we should force the insurance company to replace our body when the one we had gets wrecked. Like how auto and home insurance works (well, sort of, they'll come up with all sorts of excuses why your brand new car was worth only $500 when it was totaled.)

Or better yet, we stop trying to insure bodies. They're all lemons and the warranty is shit.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748633)

Easy for him to say, he is a billionaire. He can say or do almost anything, and get away scot free.

Psah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748647)

Guess he won't have to apply for a job anytime soon, and have your prospective employer dig through your medical records.

And he probably does not have AIDS. Or had some STDs. You know, there are countries that deny entrance to anyone with those.

Or visited a psychiatrist (yes, in many parts of the world the psychiatrists notes are part of your medical records).

I already find goverment databases of everyones medical records creepy as hell, not to mention them for sale on the 'market'.

Medical Privacy (5, Informative)

MacTechnic (40042) | about a year ago | (#43748653)

I must sincerely disagree with Larry Page on the subject of privacy of medical records. There are many medical conditions, that can be compromising or embarrassing for a patient. If someone has a congenital condition that affect their behavioral or physical condition, that is something they might want to manage privately for their own protection. Reproductive issues are very private issues, for obvious reasons. If someone has a undiagnosed condition that affects their ability to work or to engage in a social life, they deserve privacy while they work with a health provider to figure things out. I find Mr. Page's feelings very inconsiderate to other people. I respect Mr. Page's courage in dealing with his current vocal cord paralysis, which has been ongoing for sometime, and he has taken a very blunt way of dealing with it. Not everyone's condition affords them such candor.

Re:Medical Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748727)

yeah, i'm surprised at Larry's ignorance here. Google has no experience with medical verticals, so I'm not shocked.

Re:Medical Privacy (1)

j-beda (85386) | about a year ago | (#43748767)

While I agree that privacy issues extend beyond purely ones associated with getting medical coverage by your insurer, it is also true that absent the types of financial incentives that insurance providers and employers have in learning about your medical conditions, there is much less desire for anyone to access someone else's information.

If your employer does not pay increased rates due to your health issues - they don't have much incentive to snoop or discriminate. Yes there is some since a sick employee is not so great for the company in terms of replacements and training types of expenses, but this is almost nothing compared to the costs associated with the healthcare burden in systems without universal equal price coverage.

Re:Medical Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748797)

Imagine that you have 100 people in a room. One of those people has schizophrenia of some form, but can function with drug treatment. A few have bipolar disorder, and a great deal more have some sort of depression.

Now, imagine Larry has children who are one of the lucky chosen few to have a mental disorder. I'm sure Larry has no problem with society stigmatizing his own children who got the disease from his or his wife's "faulty" genes.

Maybe we should just force people with bad genes not to have kids in order to breed a more stable society. Better yet, we could sterilize them by law--or put them in concentration camps. After all, who wants to hire someone to work who is potentially "unstable" and has questionable value to society? Does the world even need people like Aaron Swartz to function in utopia?

Maybe he should ask a question that would make sense to him: If Barrak Obama had manic depression, would you vote for him as president? Even if the disorder were well controlled? I would bet $10,000 that Mitt Romney would have won the last election if something like that came out.

Re:Medical Privacy (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | about a year ago | (#43749059)

I've had a paralyzed vocal cord since birth. No one has EVER considered it a real disability apart from things like "you have a cold?" "did you yell too much at the concert last night?" etc. It's more of an interesting curiosity to most people. A man who sells database software telling us we need not be so concerned about our privacy is just trying to make himself more wealthy... the medical sob story is a steaming pile...

Private health insurance nonsense (1)

jmv (93421) | about a year ago | (#43748659)

Maybe we should change the rules around insurance so that they have to insure people

That would be an improvement, but at the same time it creates another problem. Having an industry where only the buyer is allowed to use information is complete nonsense too. I know this opinion isn't popular around here, but for health insurance, the only thing that makes any sort of sense is a public system. It's just sad to see that the US is among the last to realize this.

Re:Private health insurance nonsense (5, Insightful)

j-beda (85386) | about a year ago | (#43748705)

Maybe we should change the rules around insurance so that they have to insure people

That would be an improvement, but at the same time it creates another problem. Having an industry where only the buyer is allowed to use information is complete nonsense too. I know this opinion isn't popular around here, but for health insurance, the only thing that makes any sort of sense is a public system. It's just sad to see that the US is among the last to realize this.

Actually, in most of the world, it isn't called "medical insurance", it is called the "medical system", and it is a system where everyone pays for equal access to medical services. The idea that it is "insurance", where individuals have various levels of "risk" seems to be part of the problem. Society does not have "educational insurance" to pay for our educational needs, why would we want medical insurance?

Re:Private health insurance nonsense (1)

jmv (93421) | about a year ago | (#43748757)

I think the "insurance" here is mostly historical, nothing more. An actual insurance (public or private) would never pay for your yearly health check-up or for your regular meds. If you tell your insurer that you're planning on having a minor car accident in May of every year, I doubt you'll be insured for very long.

Re:Private health insurance nonsense (1)

j-beda (85386) | about a year ago | (#43748803)

I think the "insurance" here is mostly historical, nothing more. An actual insurance (public or private) would never pay for your yearly health check-up or for your regular meds. If you tell your insurer that you're planning on having a minor car accident in May of every year, I doubt you'll be insured for very long.

I recognize that it is a historical result, but it still colors the discussion. It makes sense to charge different rates for insurance based on knowledge about the risks and the costs - thus we have different house insurance rates and payouts depending on where the house is and how it is constructed for example. We generally do not do that for the education system for example - everyone in town pays the same regardless of how much of the education system they directly use. Movement toward non-universal education systems have not met with much support.

Contradiction (3, Insightful)

mfwitten (1906728) | about a year ago | (#43748675)

Insurance is about risk management. Forcing a risk manager to ignore risk is about as dumb a suggestion as I've ever heard.

The problem lies elsewhere; the problem lies in the lack of a free market; the problem lies in crony capitalism: Big Business and Big Government using each other to fleece people through coercion.

Pollyanna Page (3, Insightful)

RandCraw (1047302) | about a year ago | (#43748677)

"'Maybe we should change the rules around insurance so that they have to insure people,' he said."

Maybe the world *should* be a better place. But wishing for the best of all possible worlds is an idiotic basis for national health policy. Or privacy policy.

Re:Pollyanna Page (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748887)

But wishing for the best of all possible worlds is an idiotic basis for national health policy.

Seems to work ok for the rest of the developed world.

Extremely wealthy person world view (5, Insightful)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | about a year ago | (#43748681)

So Larry Page disclosed an ailment that quite frankly was new to me. But what are the implications of paralized vocal chords beyond being unable to speak?

Are the people surrounding him worried he may be contagoious? Is he in danger of being blamed for an unhealthy lifestyle causing his malaise? Does he face the prospect of losing his job, or being unable to find employment in the future? Is he likely to lose family or friends? I believe the answer is no to all the above questions.

But think of AIDS, certain cancers, heart disease, mental disorders and any number of afflictions that MAY be caused by personal choice. Or even if personal responsibility were not the cause, yet others would still discriminate the sufferer.

The choice of making one's problems public should ALWAYS rest with the individual. There are always reasons to shield yourself from others, and one billionaire cannot even begin to comprehend the complexity of the issue from his ivory tower.

Re:Extremely wealthy person world view (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748885)

But what are the implications of paralized vocal chords beyond being unable to speak?

What if we discover in the future that the degree of paralysis of vocal chords correlates very strongly and positively with other traits or diseases? For example:

  • An inability to sing in tune
  • An allergic reaction to sushi
  • High trust in what a person tells you
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Money spent on tentacle porn
  • Infertility
  • Alzheimer's disease

Some of these things have negative social effects. It is not necessarily obvious at the time of revealing a piece of information what the downstream consequences will be.

Clearly they correlate with being evil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749057)

Clearly paralyzed vocal cords correlate with being evil.

That is all.

He's not saying you have to share... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748683)

Maybe there is some self serving to it, but I think he had a valid point...He's not saying for everyone to put everything out in the open, or to have insecure online records; merely that people are sometimes super private about health issues that there's no real reason to be. That when he stopped being private about his, he felt better, and the support he got made him wish he did it sooner. Even his jab at health care laws carries some weight; you can't fix healthcare without at least TRYING some new ideas. I'm not saying Google would've done it best, but at least it's better then no one trying.

You gotta love Larry's self-serving hypocrisy... (1, Insightful)

rtilghman (736281) | about a year ago | (#43748701)

He goes into I/O and tells everyone that there's too much focus on competition and a "zero-sum" game. Meanwhile his company is doing everything is can to fight regulation, moving on any and every available market, clearly adopting innovation for market and platform advantage, and generally fighting to be the alpha wolf of the pack. Christ, you basically just duplicated the iphone and gave it away for free to build a market for your products... zero sum game my a$#, you're dealing the cards you half wit!

Then he goes out and talks about how we should be less uptight about our personal information... a guy with billions of dollars and no security issues whatsoever, tells folks who live and die on the edge of poverty where an employer will fire you for being fat, to "stop sweating the personal medical concerns." I can see the next one now... "gas? Let them drive Teslas."

I'm so sick of these "do no evil" bait and switch a$%holes. What on earth has Google actually ever created besides a search algorithm? CREATED... please, someone explain it to me, because I'm still trying to figure it out.

-rt

stigma (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748711)

some medical problems are stigmatized, so it's best nobody knows about them.

America, you are doing it wrong (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748731)

His comment makes a lot of sense. In Australia, health insurance companies must charge every customer the same amount (for the same level of cover) and are required to provide coverage to anyone who signs up. It is illegal to deny a person insurance. Japan goes one step further and *requires* everyone to be insured. Everyone has the the same level of cover and no one is denied. Both of these countries have excellent medical outcomes and profitable medical insurance industries.

America, you are doing health insurance wrong. There are many examples of health insurance worldwide that are more equitable, more effective and far cheaper.

What about stock price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748745)

What about stock price on news the CIO has some serious health problems?

Vajk

Nope (4, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | about a year ago | (#43748753)

What reason do you possibly have to look at another person's medical history unless you are a physician or are put into a situation where you have to make medical decisions for another person? It's one thing to decide to share something if you feel it might be beneficial to help raise awareness (see Angelina Jolie) or if you're in an important position where people might have money riding on your health (see Steve Jobs or Larry Page) and a case could be made for ascertaining that you are healthy, but otherwise, there's no good reason.

I don't want to come off as some tin-foil hat wearing nut-job, but one can't help making a connection between Google wanting to know as much information as possible about a person to influence search results and Page's comments.

I just think there's no good reason to open up if people don't want to. There are a lot of things that could be stigmatizing in a person's medical history and open them all to all kinds of forms of discrimination outside of being able to get health insurance. Things as simple as "Oh, you had an abortion once. You're not welcome here."

And for what it's worth, I'd like to see better privacy laws in place. The kind of data that companies are so easily able to gather these days is getting out of hand is probably going to lead to an entirely new set of problems in the future. For example, it's already been proven possible to out a gay person [firstmonday.org] by analyzing their friends on social networks. If the world were a better place that wouldn't be a big deal, but it isn't. I'm reminded a short story [blogspot.com] where information gathering becomes so sophisticated that computers are able to generate targeted ads to influence a person in a single regard:

“Push combs the online footprint of our targets to determine everything we can about them,” said Yaroslava. “We use social networks, we use search histories, we use cell phone data, we use gaming protocols. All data is useful to us. Not only do we find out exactly what our target likes to consume, but we also find out how they like to consume it. We see how they browse to determine their specific attention spans and intelligence. We scan their pornography habits to learn about their libido, their obsessions, and their fears. We aggregate vast amounts of data about the way they use the internet to create a complete psychological profile of our targets, and then we use cognitive behavioral techniques to triangulate patterns in this profile. We make as robust a model of their operating intelligence as we possibly can. And then we make little movies meant only for our specific subjects. We make movies designed to steer them toward our products, whatever these products may be. These movies are designed to make each subject breathless, pliant, confused, over-stimulated, and highly amenable to suggestion.”

Re:Nope (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43749003)

Even the NYTimes points out how the drug companies abuse their access to health care and prescription records: "Pills Tracked From Doctor to Patient to Aid Drug Marketing" [nytimes.com] in today's (2013-may-17) New York Times.
.
Here are some of the sad reasons that people have for wanting to look at your private health records:
1 - marketing: what can we sell to you? what disease do you have? what products will you need? will you buy more incontinence diapers? will you need special dietary restrictions, thus special types of food or vitamins? are you getting fatter and needing bigger clothes?
2 - risk analysis: what can we charge you more for in terms of insurance or job benefits? are you a smoker? did you already have miscarriages? did your momma miscarry? did your daddy have cancer? did you third cousin on your mother's side have tuberculosis? have you asked for an HIV test? are you a drug user? do you drink a lot? All of these would affect your life insurance costs and your health insurance costs and may even affect your credit worthiness... If you suddenly find out you have cancer, are you going to go on a purchasing binge knowing that you won't have to pay anything off? do they need to cut off your credit?
3 - associate analysis - do your partners/family members need to be sold things or marked as higher risk? is your daughter pregnant? is your grandmother dying? is half your family pregnant and the other half dying? (M*A*S*H episode recently, about Klinger always trying to get a visit to go home...)
4 - should you car insurance rates go up? were you diagnosed with diabetes, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, narcolepsy, fainting spells, heart disorders or attacks? stuff that could make you a risky driver or at risk of losing consciousness or driving recklessly means that they've got a reason for raising your rates!
5 - should they hire you? will the company's insurance rates go up if they hire you? do you have a disease? does your wife? your kids? are they likely to get sicker? is your wife pregnant? are you or other household members smokers or drinkers or drug users (all of whom become costly for insurance for small and large companies!)
6 - are you not one of us? pure unadulterated prejudice can rear its head! your abortion example for the employee, or their wife, or their daughter having an abortion, or even being raped? how dare they allow themselves to be raped! Do they have diseases that show they're unclean? VD? pregancies? miscarriages? drug use? a history of obesity? a history of mental illness, depression, suicide attempts? how else can we discriminate?
:>(
I agree with you. There ought not be any reason that anyone other than your doctors, nurses, hospitals, physical therapists, x-rays techs, pharmacists, etc., really needs to know your medical health records... yet somehow the insurance people and HR at your work get to know all about it as the bills flow through...

Vulnerability - Health and privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748755)

While it's generally true that people seem to be overprotective of their health... it's because illness can make one feel tremendously vulnerable. Having information about your vulnerabilities available for others only compounds the problem. Be assured that there are those who will take advantage of them! If policy can be put into effect that protects the vulnerable then I could support sharing health information... but I think the reality is that there is A LOT of money to be made exploiting peoples' fear.

Vote GOP and you may be denied health insurance. (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43748759)

Vote GOP and you may be denied health insurance.

As there plan is to repeal with no replace plan.

Fuck off, Larry (1)

multiben (1916126) | about a year ago | (#43748777)

Big fucking deal. You had a vocal chord problem. Wow. How brave of you to come forward and how noble of you to now believe that we should all be open about our medical problems. There are soooooo many reasons why people prefer to keep that information private apart from being denied insurance.

Put your money up front Larry (1)

retech (1228598) | about a year ago | (#43748781)

If you think it's so safe then why don't you take all that google money and pay some of our medical bills? You can start with mine. Oh, wait, you don't want to? Shut the fuck up... I'm tired of you standing on a gilded soap box telling us how to fix the world.

Re:Put your money up front Larry (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748799)

If you think it's so safe then why don't you take all that google money and pay some of our medical bills? You can start with mine. Oh, wait, you don't want to? Shut the fuck up... I'm tired of you standing on a gilded soap box telling us how to fix the world.

LARRY PAGE DOESN'T OWE YOU A FUCKING THING so stop asking him to give you money already

Re:Put your money up front Larry (2)

multiben (1916126) | about a year ago | (#43748813)

You should sign in before you post, Larry.

Not the only reason (1)

iamacat (583406) | about a year ago | (#43748823)

Employers may not hire you if they think you will be sick a lot or may not survive long enough to pay for your training. Random people will shun you if they know you are HIV positive or schizophrenic even if there is no rational reason for their behavior. Few people will knowingly dance with a transsexual at a party. I say Larry Page is overstating how much we should worry about Google's business model. Opt- in web crawling by at least the big search engines visited by most people would do both individuals and content-based businesses lots of good.

Re:Not the only reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748909)

Employers may not hire you if they think you will be sick a lot or may not survive long enough to pay for your training. Random people will shun you if they know you are HIV positive or schizophrenic even if there is no rational reason for their behavior. Few people will knowingly dance with a transsexual at a party. I say Larry Page is overstating how much we should worry about Google's business model. Opt- in web crawling by at least the big search engines visited by most people would do both individuals and content-based businesses lots of good.

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on medical conditions. You could actually sue and get them to pay for not hiring you.

Re:Not the only reason (3, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#43749045)

Good luck proving that.

I didn't hire him because I had a feeling that he wouldn't perform well in our company.
You don't think that an HR person would actually say "I didn't hire him because XYZ was protected".

Also, in response to this:

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on medical conditions

...
That depends greatly on the medical condition. Assume I'm colorblind. Want to bet that a media publishing firm could turn me down for a design job and break no laws? There are still pushes to keep colorblind people from becoming medical doctors because the belief is that they might miss a rash or color based symptom (jaundice?)

To say that it is illegal to discriminate based on medical conditions isn't exactly true.

Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748851)

Let's see, your medical records show you to be at risk for losing your voice. Sorry, we do not think you would make a good spokesperson.

Insurance is just one reason... (1)

ndykman (659315) | about a year ago | (#43748875)

It's discrimination, plain and simple. I've a victim of it, many others have. The notion that what one shares with a doctor is private is enshrined in the Hippocratic Oath, no less.

"All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal."

The point of electronic health records is to actually improve the privacy of health information by enforcing auditing of all actions. Patients like being able to look at their record, and have their doctors share information with each other for their treatment with permission. Other than that, it's private and the idea that is protected by law, technology and culture is a good thing.

I'm glad Google Health died, given this. And I worry about the company as a whole when the founder makes statements like this, and their breakthrough hardware is a perfect tool for spying on people in public. It was bad enough that ad-supported technology is everywhere thanks to their success. Heck, remember when people just took your money and left you alone? I miss that.

Truer words were never spoken... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#43748883)

The positive feedback he [Larry Page] got from opening up about it inspired him to tell attendees at Google I/O that we should all be less uptight about keeping our medical records private. As far as Page is concerned, pretty much the only legitimate reason for worry on this score is fear of being denied health insurance.

... by a *really* rich guy who doesn't need insurance and doesn't have to worry about anything other than himself. There are lots of other reasons to worry about one's medical privacy - many of which have already been mentioned above - with prejudice and discrimination being two broad categories of worry.

Let them eat cake (5, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | about a year ago | (#43748937)

This billionaire advertising executive is so totally disconnected from the issues facing real people in the real world that it boggles the mind.

"Why would anyone want privacy for their medical records? I don't get it. If that causes insurance problem then we should just change the insurance system. Why is this so hard for you people to understand?"

Medical expertise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43748983)

Mr. Wall I admire you and your accomplishments. But you are not a medical professional. There are many very good reasons why doctors try to practice confidentiality. Read up on the history bro.

The money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749009)

It's the money, its gone to his head. Apparently he has enough money to buy a warped sense of reality.

Careful, this guy is nuts... (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43749011)

http://deusex.wikia.com/wiki/Bob_Page [wikia.com]

Has a severe god complex.

*this post is entirely fictional for those of you who have a hard time separating reality from bullshit.

Re:Careful, this guy is nuts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749091)

No, it's real! He's just suffering from Reduced Polygon Syndrome, a search for the cure being what drove him to nanotechnology in the first place.

Herpes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749055)

I have herpes, my girlfriend of the last 4 years knows.... who else needs to know.

Shows what extreme richness does to the mind (5, Insightful)

medoc (90780) | about a year ago | (#43749127)

I find it very interesting that someone as intelligent as Larry Page could provide a statement so utterly disconnected from the reality of most people lives.

This is one more indication that in many cases, being separated from contact with ordinary people by richness of function actually affects your capacity to think "normally" or empathize.

This is one more element to show that letting these (otherwise perfectly respectable) people having too much influence on politics and government is extremely bad.

Google Health, take 2 anyone? (1)

caywen (942955) | about a year ago | (#43749133)

So, should Google jump back into the health data service market, who among you would use it, given a statement like this from Page?

I suspect Page believes Google should be able to analyze your health data and even sell you to advertisers.

No way no how.

Google Glasses (4, Insightful)

Puls4r (724907) | about a year ago | (#43749159)

You know, just the other day I was at the water cooler with my Google Glasses on. Janet's description showed that she was three months pregnant. She's unmarried and spends a lot of time with Bob.

Bob's description suggests he was tested for an STD just a couple months ago. I wonder if he told Janet.

Oops. Just got a popup that I can pay google $10 a month to keep my medical records from showing up on google glasses. What a steal!

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