Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Privacy Power Play

Again, Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) is on the front lines of a legislative battle and doing yeoman's work in getting the word out about an outrageous power grab by the State of Tennessee.

The bill in question is HB2289/SB2239. Ignore the bill summary at that link. Like many bills that pass through the Tennessee legislature it's been amended. Most of us mere citizens aren't going to like what our sophisticated betters on The Hill have got up their sleeves.

This from Rep. Lynn's blog:

The Governor’s administration is pushing HB2289. As amended the bill claims that the state government needs your information to;

“Improve the accessibility and affordability of patient health care and health care coverage”

“Identify health and health care needs and inform on health and health care policy”

“Determine the capacity and distribution of existing health care resources”

“Evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs on improving patient outcomes”

“Review costs among various treatment settings, providers, and approaches”

“Provide publicly available information on health care providers’ quality of care”
This starts with the assumption that government is the answer to the 'problem' they've outlined. Frankly, government has been more of a hindrance in this than a help.

Seems to me that much of this can be avoided if the state would allow true market forces to determine health care (can you say Certificates of Need) and our right to privacy wouldn't be decimated. Via CON's the government is already determining capacity and distribution of health care resources. If that's working....why do we need HB2289? You want to know about distribution of resources? Hang out in the waiting room of a few of the larger hospitals in this state and ask where folks are from and why they had to come all the way into Nashville or Memphis. Just last week I got a note from a family who'll have to spend weeks in Nashville for their child's medical treatment. There is nothing closer for this life threatening issue.

How about instead of trashing my right of privacy we make doctor disciplinary hearings and outcomes public information so the public will have facts upon which to base our medical decisions?

How about we encourage hospitals to publish a list of fees so we can actually shop around and balance price with the recommendations we've gotten from friends and family?

Rep. Lynn's completely on this. Forget HIPPA...the government has near carte blanche with our personal information. This is a one way street that must not be allowed one more mile of paving. Privacy to them doesn't mean what it does to us. I can't know if my daughter gets an abortion. I can't even see her library records without her permission. I can't know if the fellow next to me has a communicable disease. They all have privacy rights. I've got legislators all too willing to hand over my Constitutional rights to bureaucrats. What I really need is a few more good men like Rep. Lynn who've got a backbone and will say no.

Last week during the guns in parks debate there was some discussion about cities being able to opt in or out of this legislation. Opponents of guns in parks were adamant that the default should be that cities have to opt into that legislation. That cities should have to decide for having guns in parks. Where are those legislators now in regard to this mandate? Shouldn't the privacy rights of citizens demand an opt in clause?

Go here to find and contact your legislators:

Thanks to these Republican representatives already on record as voting against this privacy power play:
Rep. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) ,
Rep. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) ,
Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) ,
Rep. Vance Dennis (R-Savannah) .

So far not one member of the Senate has voted no.

See also: Between you, your doctor and the State of Tennessee.

1 comment:

N.S. Allen said...

Not terribly apropos of the bill in question, but it hadn't occurred to met until just now what a strange relationship modern conservatives have to the right to privacy.

Because, on the one hand, it's a right you think they'd love. To an extent, it's a nice summary of all the rights they think people ought to have, in the sense of negative protections from state and mob oppression. But, on the other, it's conservatives that you find arguing that the right to privacy found in the "penumbra" of the Constitution is illegitimate, judicially speaking.

(And, legally speaking, I think the TN constitution also doesn't include an explicit right to privacy?)

I'm not sure if there's a legitimate, ideological reason for this or if it's just a practical outgrowth of the major right to privacy cases focusing on topics like sodomy, contraception, and abortion. But, either way, it's interesting.