If you think the Obama health law is only for the uninsured and you won’t be affected, you’re in for a surprise next time you go to the doctor. Be prepared for questions unrelated to why you are seeking medical help — questions that you don’t want to answer.
Whether you’re at the dermatologist or the cardiologist, you’ll likely be asked: “Are you sexually active? If so, do you have one partner, multiple partners or same-sex partners?”
Doctors are being turned into government agents, where they’re pressured financially to ask questions they consider inappropriate and unnecessary and violate their Hippocratic Oath to keep patients’ records confidential.
Going to the doctor can be embarrassing. But for your own good, you confide in your doctor, as you wouldn’t anyone else. What is happening here is different.
“This is nasty business,” says Dr. Adam Budzikowski, a New York cardiologist, who called the sex question “insensitive, stupid and very intrusive.” He could not think of an occasion when a cardiologist would need such information.
Doctors and hospitals who don’t comply with the federal government’s electronic health records requirements forego incentive payments now and face financial penalties from Medicare and Medicaid starting in 2015. The Department of Health and Human Services has already paid out over $12.7 billion in incentives to doctors and hospitals.