Legislative Update - Healthcare Advertising - Information or Manipulation?


March 29, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - In the last few days I have critiqued two ads, one on TV and one on the internet,promoting elements of the universal health care plan.

AD 1: [I am paraphrasing] DEMOCRATS, VICTIMIZED FOR DEFENDING THE POOR AND NEEDY. This could well be the title of this ad.

This spot positions the Democrats in Congress as victims of those opposing the recently passed health care plan. The ad claims that Democrats have received threats, nasty phone calls, etc. It urges the reader to please, quickly send a $5.00 donation to the following address to help overcome this unpleasantness and help inform the people of the good work to be done by The Plan, yadda...yadda...

In truth the phone calls, if any, are probably from constituents who have a right to oppose a vote cast by their legislator and the so-called threats are, mostlikely, vows to defeat the legislator at the next election.

This is exactly the routine followed by Planned Parenthood. They positionthemselves as victims at the mercy of a well-funded but vicious pro-lifecommunity which is spreading false information about the work of the abortion provider. PP spends a fortune [of our tax dollars] sending out fund raisingletters urging people to send money to aid in their "education" program. Theyclaim to have been victimized by pro-lifers and have no other way to respondbut through your urgently needed donations....yadda...yadda...yadda...

You are supposed to feel sorry for these poor, brave defenders of social justice who need your protection.

AD 2. DIGITIZING MEDICAL RECORDS.This television advertisement shows a man sitting on an examining table in a doctor?s office. The doctor wonders, out loud, if the patient has ever been checked for [fill in the blank]. The patient shrugs his shoulders and suddenly the scene changes to include a large audience. Members of the audience start jumping up proclaiming that the patient has had this any number of tests. Another voice-over begins to list the supposed advantages of digital medical record keeping and sharing.

This is the promotion of digitizing everyone's medical records and assigning patients, without their approval or knowledge apparently, to a Medical Home [a new legislatively created entity in which a patient's medical care becomes subject to influences far outside the doctor patient relationship, a topic I've written about this in the last legislative alert].

Now, this may be, to some extent, a good idea. Kaiser has this sort of organized record keeping. Instead of spending time looking through poorly written paper medical records, the doctor just has to press a button and up pops the info on whatever test or medication they ask for. Any Kaiser doctor or nurse with privileges or on a needs basis, using the proper pass code can look up yourrecord.

Years ago I worked for a County Child Protective Services Agency.

Occasionally we would learn of some client gaming all the county serviceswithout each department knowing about the other. We would talk about howgreat it would be if we could somehow automatically share the information inorder to find out if client A is getting the same service or payment from severalagencies.

However, there is a down-side to this. Just how far afield would Obama?sAdministration wish to share your information? Does your employer or yourchild?s teacher need to know about your bladder infections, your nasal drip,your appendectomy?

There have been 5 bills so far in the 2009-10 California legislative sessionauthorizing Medical Homes for just about everyone. Two failed, one wasenacted, one was gutted and replaced with housing language and three areawaiting hearings.

AB 1037, by Bonnie Lowenthal, Negrete McLeod and Norma Torres, allDemocrats.

This would have established a Medi-Cal Managed Care Pilot Program forRiverside and San Bernardino counties with access to a medical home.By the way, there is no definition of a Medical Home in California law.apparently, because SB 966,Welfare and Institutions: Medi-Cal, by Sen. ElaineAlquist, mandates development of a definition to coincide with the 2008Physician Practice Connections-Patient-Centered Medical Home standards andGuidelines established by the National committee for Quality Assurance.So, these legislators are authoring bills and they don't even have a workingdefinition of what constitutes a medical home.

AB 6 d, Noreen Evans, Medi-Cal, was chaptered on 7/28/2009.Provides, in order to maximize federal claiming under the Medi-Cal Hospital/Uninsured Care Demonstration Project, that the Department of Health CareServices have broad discretion to claim federal reimbursement. Authorizes theseeking of all available funding including under the American Recovery andReinvestment Act. Requires an application for a project federal waiver.Requires an implementation plan for such waiver. Requires the formation of arelated stakeholder committee.

AB 1542, Medical Records: Homes, authored by the Assembly HealthCommittee.

This does carry a definition of a Medical Home.

Defines a patient-centered medical home [PCMH] as an approach to providing health care that originates in a primary care setting and fosters partnerships among the patient and health professionals to promote coordinated care, ensure quality and access to care, and to improve health. This bill will create a partnership agreement between the Health Care Professional [notice it never says doctor] and the patient to provide access to "high Quality, comprehensive care."

I advise caution when faced with the word "comprehensive." That is a favoriteword of Planned Parenthood?s and it means family planning and abortion. Thistime it will include obtaining the patient?s consent to agree to a set plan ofpreventive measures to which the patient will be pressured to adhere.

This bill appears to have ties to a federal bill, S. 1303, Women?s Medical Home Demonstration Act by Robert Menendez, [D-NJ]. This bill consigns all women to a Women?s Medical Home for the delivery of health care which does include family planning, venereal diseases and abortions.

If this passes you could be assigned to the same medical home as the townhooker and you will probably be paying, with your taxes, for her medical care - another area of equality and diversity never mentioned in the pro-Obamahealth care press.

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