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Medicare Reform Will Strip Away Health Freedom and Medical Privacy

Urgent Time to Voice Your Opinion

November 19, 2003

(Washington, D.C.)—"Proposed Medicare reform is going to strip away citizens' health freedom and medical privacy," says Sue Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom (IHF) and author of Medicare's Midlife Crisis (published by the Cato Institute).

"Medicare is a nationalized health care program that dictates coverage and rations care through its more than 100,000 pages of federal rules and regulations," Blevins said. "Many seniors currently are denied the freedom to pay privately for Medicare-covered services. Infringements on our freedom of choice and medical privacy are only going to increase with federally dictated prescription drug coverage and a new policy of physical examinations upon enrolling in Medicare." (Many people think Medicare is voluntary, but all seniors have to enroll in Medicare Part A—the hospital program—or forgo their Social Security benefits.)

Blevins also notes that the reason all citizens—not just seniors—have lost their medical privacy is because of Medicare. "The new federal rule that eliminates citizens' freedom to give or withhold their consent before their medical information is released was created to make Medicare more efficient. In other words, all citizens are losing control over the flow of their personal health information because of Medicare's inefficiencies."

IHF has been warning the American public about how proposed Medicare reform will affect every citizen's health freedom and privacy. With political heat rising, once again it is a critical time to voice your opinion to national policymakers. Following are important issues to consider:

  • MANY SENIORS WILL LOSE PRIVATE COVERAGE: How can Congress guarantee that many seniors who currently have coverage won't lose their existing private coverage?

  • HIGHER COSTS AND GREATER TAX BURDEN FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS: Who is going to be responsible for major miscalculations with Medicare cost projections? When Medicare was being debated in 1965 (the year it was signed into law), the federal government's actuary projected that hospital program costs would grow to $9 billion by 1990. The program ended up costing more than $66 billion that year.

  • LACK OF PRIVACY AND PRIVATE CONTRACTS: Everyone knows that he who pays the piper calls the tune. If citizens are not free to maintain private contracts and pay privately for their health care, they won't have true privacy.

For more information about Medicare reform and its impact on health freedom and medical privacy, see IHF's Web site: http://www.forhealthfreedom.org/Publications/MedicareMedicaid/index.html.

Source: Institute for Health Freedom news release.