The expansion of electronic health records touted by President Obama as "one of the showcases of the new stimulus bill" will actually lead to a "massive electronic database [that] will make it far easier for the government to coerce both doctors and patients," James Bovard, author of "Attention Deficit Democracy," writes in a Washington Times opinion piece adapted from an article appearing in the March 9 issue of American Conservative.
According to Bovard, "if health records are digitized on the federal dime, it will be far easier for politicians to claim the resulting information."
He writes, "Team Obama and its congressional supporters promise the government will scrupulously respect the privacy of the newly computerized private medical data." However, he adds that the "issue is not whether the personal health information government commandeers will be abused," but "it is simply a question of when, where and how it will be exploited."
Bovard concludes, "Citizens will be stuck with the huge bills for creating their own digital fetters," but "destroying real privacy for a bogus promise of health care is a fool's bargain" (Bovard, Washington Times, 3/13).