Today President Obama signed the SCHIP bill to much fanfare (wouldn’t it have been cool if he had walked out for the signing ceremony, said “just kidding guys” and walked back out?). In his remarks he said severl frightening things. I will leave aside the issue that SCHIP will now be founded on cigarette taxes, meaning fewer people will smoke, thus causing less tax to be collected because others will discuss this in more and better detail than I can.
Here is what President Obama said that has me worried. That this is the first step. We knew he wants universal healthcare. Rather than doing the Hilary All At Once Plan, he will put it through piecemeal. One healthcare initiative at a time. Today, it is children. Who doesn’t want children (I said CHILDREN, as in under the age of 18, thank you very much) to have health care? Tomorrow, it may be requiring unionized companies to provide expanded healthcare to all family members, not just dependents. Then another step. All funded through higher taxes. Each plan will involve incremental tax increases, but in the end will result in much higher tax bills for everyone. Including the working class that the President claims to love so much.
The other thing he said was most likely ignored by most. He said he looks forward to the day that all medical records are computerized. The President said this will “eliminate medical mistakes.” Really? Because, of course, computers never have glitches. Yeah, right, tell that to anyone who has had to dispute a doublle payment on a credit card bill. Glitches happen all the time. Plus, it will still be humans updating the records. There is still the chance of a misentry by a human being. My fear is that everyone will just assume the records are correct. As someone with a deadly drug allergy, I prefer to talk to a person at the doctor’s rather than trust a computer.
Computerized records also raise HUGE security concerns. Look at all the data breaches of credit card records, social security, etc. If records are computerized, it will be that much easier for a hacker to access. Paper records are a ton easier to keep confidential since you have to physically get your hands on the piece of paper to read it.
Don’t get me wrong. Computers can be useful to the medical profession. But let us not kid ourselves, they are far from perfect or secure. A realistic assessment of this idea would serve everyone — patients and doctors alike much better than falling for the President’s rosy rhetoric yet again.