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At 10:52 AM 9/18/96 -0700, Timothy C. May wrote:
>On a related note, I read an article yesterday about the proposed new
>Health Data Base, with all encounters with any medical institution or any
>health care provider of any sort being cross-linked and cross-referenced.

Which is why some of us lie when we buy private insurance or seek
treatment.  If you "go bare" of course and use different identifiers
whenever you seek treatment there are no problems.  Hospitals have to treat
people anyway under Hill-Burton Act rules and since they have accepted
oligopoly status and have conspired with the Feds to do all sorts of nasty
privacy invasions, I don't see many libertarian problems in taking them up
on their offer of free care.

Private health insurance in Mexico and the UK is also cheap (by US
standards).  If Canada legalizes private insurance, it will be cheaper too.

>And such data bases will be tied to True Names, of course, thus allowing
>the "freezing out" of anyone who is not a True Name, who has fallen behind
>in child support payments, who is late on his income taxes, and so on.

No proposals yet along these lines although smokers might be denied care.

>It doesn't matter if cash is still allowed if one cannot interact with any
>health care person without a proper citizen-unit data base entry. They've
>got you tracked even if you pay in gold dust.

Claim to be a foreigner.

>(Putting on my Duncan cap--not to be confused with dunce cap--I wonder what
>will happen the first time someone dies because a hospital wouldn't treat
>someone without a proper citizen-unit health care card?)

So far it's just for reporting and not authorization purposes.

>P.S. I fully understand that some doctors will treat patients for cash,
>without reporting to The Authorities, just as some doctors will treat
>gunshot wounds without the mandatory reporting of same to the police. This
>does not mean such doctors will be easy to find. The System, if allowed to
>win, will win.

Particularly libertarian physicians.  Also everyone goes to Mexico for
(prescription) drugs these days.  Maybe they will also seek treatment there
or in Canada.

>P.P.S. Many of the things we talk about on the list are being made
>possible--the good and the bad--by computerization. Obviously. Burnham's
>"Age of Privacy" (or maybe it was "The Age of Surveillance"--my copy is not
>handy) made this point many years ago. We are taking the mechanization and
>systematization procedures the Germans used so efficiently in the 1930s and
>modernizing them, with every movement and every transactions tracked and
>recorded in data bases. 

And yet, has anyone noticed any greater sense that we are orderly or in
control.  I think that we are more disordered than we have been in my
lifetime at least.  It obviously hasn't worked yet.