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Jewish World Review June 12, 2000 /9 Sivan, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Consumer Reports

Say goodbye to
medical privacy -- ASIDE FROM PSYCHOLOGICAL REASONS, why can't the Clintons be straightforward about things? It's easy to understand why Bill wouldn't want to be candid about his "affairs," but what about his policy proposals?

If the Clintons' ideas were superior, they would have no motive to be deceitful about them, right? Think again. The truth is that they know that despite liberalism's virtual monopoly in the mainstream press, the universities, and most of our other cultural institutions, it is still not the majority philosophy among most voters. So they have to disguise many of their programs or, in some cases, secrete them from the public altogether.

Remember Hillary's notorious plan to socialize American medicine? While pretending that it was going to be produced by the people "from the bottom up," she kept her task force meetings secret to the point of earning a rebuke by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth. But why? What did she have to hide? Well, plenty, as it turns out. Hillary's 1,300-page plan would have nationalized 14 percent of the nation's economy, a fact she could ill-afford to have disclosed.

And now, she and Bill both claim to have learned their lesson from that fiasco. But are they honest about that lesson? What they want you to believe is that they are willing to compromise and abandon their goal of nationalized health care. Actually, the only lesson they learned is that to accomplish their goal of socialized medicine they must do it incrementally, one inconspicuous step at a time.

Although Hillary Care suffered a humiliating defeat in 1994, some of its insidious components survived and became law in 1996 with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), a.k.a., Kennedy-Kassebaum. Hillary's plan contained a provision regarding a "unique health identifier" (a patient ID number) that could be used to track each person's medical history electronically from cradle to grave. This gem was resurrected and codified into law in HIPAA in 1996. So far, our Brave New World medical ID numbers have not been created, but soon will be if something isn't done.

Though the provision for the creation of the medical ID numbers is already in the law, Texas Congressman Ron Paul has been successful so far in leading an effort to block appropriations for implementation of this provision. This week, this appropriations bill (HR 4577) will be voted on again, and if it passes, the unique health identifier -- the medical ID number -- will be created for all of us.

It gets worse. This year, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed "medical privacy regulations" that will apply to all individuals, whether their health care is paid for privately or by the government. Those who love freedom and cherish privacy should be alarmed about these developments. Here's why:

While Clinton touts the medical ID number and the proposed medical privacy regulations as enhancing our medical privacy, they do just the opposite. The assignment of these numbers is the first step toward universal health care, and the regulations severely undermine our privacy. The government will be entitled to access our private medical records without our consent and the government -- not you -- will decide who else will have access to our records. Under the regulation's health plans, providers, hospitals, researchers, medical students, government agents, law enforcement officials, and whomever else the government decides will have access. Are you nervous yet? If not, be aware that the regulations will also limit patients' access to their own records, especially in malpractice cases. And they will limit our right to sue others for breaching our medical confidentiality.

If Ron Paul fails to convince Congress again to block funding for creating the ID numbers, all is not lost. He also has prepared a bill to repeal the HIPAA provision that requires the adoption of our ID numbers. This is a good start but another provision also empowers the government to adopt those privacy regulations that authorize the collection and sharing of our medical records without our consent. Congress should repeal that provision as well.

Once again, the Clintons, under the guise of expanding our rights, are taking them away. If we don't derail this train now, our chances of thwarting Hillary's grandiose scheme to socialize health care may be out the window.

JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.



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05/24/00: Not so fast, Hillary
05/22/00: Gore's risky, fear-mongering schemes
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05/15/00: Right to privacy, Clinton-style
05/10/00: Patrick Kennedy and his suit-happy fiddlers
05/08/00: Don't shoot Eddie Eagle
05/03/00: Congress caves to Clinton, again?
05/01/00: The resurrection of outrage
04/28/00: A picture of Bill Clinton's America
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04/17/00: Elian, Marx and parental rights
04/12/00: Elian, freedom deserve a hearing
04/10/00:The fraying of America
04/05/00: Noonan: End Clintonism now
04/03/00: Bush: On going for the gold
03/29/00: Phantasma-Gore-ia
03/27/00: Treaties, triggers, tobacco and tyrants
03/22/00: Media to Bush: Go left, young man
03/20/00: Stop the insanity
03/15/00: OK Al Gore: Let's go negative
03/13/00: Deifying of the center
03/08/00: The media, the establishment and the people
03/01/00: McCain's coalition-busting daggers in GOP's heart
02/28/00: Bush's silver lining in McMichigan
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02/14/00: The campaign finance reform mirage
02/09/00: President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it?
02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina
02/02/00: SDI must fly
01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
01/26/00: The issues gap
01/24/00: GOP: Exit, stage left
01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
01/18/00: Do voters really prefer straight talk?
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01/10/00: Conservative racism myth
01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics
01/03/00: McMedia?
12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
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11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
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10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
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09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
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08/04/99: What would you do?
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07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: Itís the 'moderates', stupid
07/21/99: JFK Jr. and Diana: the pain of privilege
07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clintonís faustian bargain: our justice
07/06/99: The key to Bush's $36 million
06/30/99: Gore: a soda in every fountain
06/28/99: 'Sacred wall' or religious barrier?
06/23/99: GOP must lead in foreign policy
06/21/99: Crumbs of compassion
06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?