Your Medical Privacy–Another Obamacare Casualty


By: Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D.

It was a sad day recently when a married menopausal woman learned that her recent Pap test was positive for human papilloma virus (HPV). “How could this happen?” she asked. “I have not had sex with anyone but my husband since we married 30 years ago.”

Over the past year, her husband had several trips overseas for weeks at the time. She suspected the positive HPV indicated he had been unfaithful, but when she asked him, he said, “Oh, it can be latent for a long time.”

I showed her my records from 2008 and 2009: Paps were HPV negative. Her newly positive HPV likely means her husband had had sex with an infected person during his travels. She broke down weeping.

HPV is an increasingly prevalent sexually transmitted disease that can hit women of all ages and increases the risk of invasive cervical cancer—another reason she was upset about becoming HPV positive. She now faced hard decisions. As she left, I felt sad watching her suffer with the impact of this news on her marriage.

This kind of painful situation happens daily in doctors’ offices. Such personal and private pain should remain between the patient, physician, and family.

My patients are horrified at the idea that such personal health information could be released to a government database, open to anyone with access to the system. But your privacy is another casualty of the damage caused by Obamacare’s new rules and regulations governing health professionals.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released new federal regulation that requires private health insurance companies to give health records of every person they insure to the government.

Although government jargon in the HHS rules distracts from their real goal, the end result is clear: government bureaucrats would have access to the health records from all private insurance companies—including yours—whether you want them to or not.

Under the new rules, the Federal government will own and control your medical records, without your permission. The government will be your new “overlord” controlling your medical information on federal computers in a federal database. You will no longer be able to control who sees your medical information.

The most personal aspects of your life are slated to be sent to Washington by your private insurance carrier for all your medical visits. This provides individual medical data for the federally run Comparative Effectiveness Research coordinating panel of experts. This panel of government-appointed experts, copying the rationing approach in Britain, will decide what treatment is allowed for individuals, based on government criteria such as:

  • cost of treatment
  • effectiveness as determined by government experts
  • your “quality life years” remaining

Beyond privacy issues, there is major concern about safety of your medical information when hackers can penetrate even highly secure federal agency computers such as the Pentagon, VA, and Department of Defense. Hackers stole millions of medical records from the Veterans Administration, and patients were at risk for identity theft.

David Blumenthal, M.D., the President’s former “health information czar,” admitted that “no infrastructure exists in most areas of the country for secure health information exchange among providers and between providers and consumers.”

Medical privacy? The Obama administration’s health czars seem more concerned about power and control over your medical care than protection of your private medical information.

In summary, the Obamacare “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” of 2010 and the “Stimulus Bill” of 2009 gave the federal government total control of very personal aspects of your life:

  • money that is currently in the private healthcare sector
  • your private personal and family health information
  • your access to timely medical care
  • the types of treatment you will be allowed to have, based on your age and value to society

If you value your privacy and freedom to choose your medical treatment, then you need to consider candidates in 2012 who vow to defund, dismantle, and repeal Obamacare. We need patient-centered reform that puts freedom back into our hands as our Founders intended. Ronald Reagan warned: Socialism begins with government control of medicine.

Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. is a preventive and climacteric medicine specialist with medical practices in Tucson AZ and Dallas TX that take an integrated approach to evaluation and treatment of women and men with complex medical and hormonal problems. Dr. Vliet is also President of International Health Strategies, Ltd., whose mission is twofold: liberty and privacy in treatment options and preservation of the Oath of Hippocrates focus on the individual patient.

Dr. Vliet is the 2007 recipient of the Voice of Women award from the Arizona Foundation for Women for her pioneering advocacy for the overlooked hormone connections in women’s health. Dr. Vliet received her M.D. degree and internship in Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, then completed specialty training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Vliet is a Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Vliet has appeared on FOX NEWS, Cavuto, Stuart Varney Show, Fox and Friends and syndicated radio shows across the country addressing the economic and medical impact of the new healthcare bill.

Dr. Vliet’s books include : It’s My Ovaries, Stupid!; Screaming To Be Heard: Hormonal Connections Women Suspect– And Doctors STILL Ignore; Women, Weight and Hormones; The Savvy Woman’s Guide to PCOS, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to Testosterone.

Dr. Vliet’s medical and educational website is

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