There’s a new outrage going on with the wingnuts over Obamacare today. That outrage is over major pharmacies offering to help patients get their medications this month, while peoples new insurance kicks in. John Nolte, writing at Breitbart, has a piece up entitled “DATA GOLDMINE: WALGREENS, WALMART OFFER FREE PRESCRIPTIONS TO OBAMACARE CUSTOMERS“. The premise of the article is that the big bad corporations are working with the big bad government to spy on you through medicine. And while there is no mention that these companies did the exact same thing in 2006, when Bush’s Medicare-D program was suffering a catastrophic start, and right after 60 Minutes and the NYTimes exposed the NSA spying on Americans, there is a lot of falsehoods pushed in the article.
I want to address the entire article, which starts with:
In what you can interpret as either an act of corporate altruism, corporate lobbying, or a mix of both, two giant retailers — Walmart and Walgreens — have agreed to save the Obama Administration from who knows how many horror-story anecdotes by agreeing to fill 30 days of free prescriptions for ObamaCare enrollees. The question is, though, what happens to the data and patient information these retailers collect?
When you have two of the biggest retailers in the country collecting untold amounts of personal health information from who knows how many people seeking free prescriptions, in the wake of revelations surrounding domestic NSA and Justice Department spying (on reporters!), it is not unreasonable to worry about this. We also know that a number of large corporations have apparently cooperated with the federal government’s data grabs.
As I said, these companies did the exact same thing in 2006 for Bush and that was met with fanfare from the right, but there is something even more troubling here that the right has never addressed.
Way back in 2002, while the country was still reliving the horrors of 9/11, the Bush administration quietly pushed out some rule changes that basically destroyed patient privacy. These rule changes, that didn’t even see Congress, opened up a new world of advertising to big pharma. Suddenly we were getting advertisements in the mail talking about drugs that would help certain ailments we were diagnosed with. But how did they know our super secret medical problems? Because Bush happily destroyed patient privacy.
Then we get to this part:
According to one Walgreens pharmacist Breitbart News spoke with Tuesday, in April the DEA started requiring pharmacies to ask an increased number of medical questions and show a photo ID for certain medications. There have also been reports that through ObamaCare the federal government is compiling data based on a series of new and intrusive question doctors are required to ask.
I read that and started thinking back to early last summer about stories I was hearing of Walgreens refusing to fill valid prescriptions for painkillers. I then found this article from back then, verifying what my memory banks were telling me, but also explaining why:
Walgreens says its new policy is designed to curb prescription drug abuse, which is now a national epidemic.
But there’s another reason for the new rules: Walgreens has no choice.
They are part of a new settlement agreement the company reached with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency after investigators in Florida found Walgreens had been blatantly violating federal law. Those investigators found Walgreens pharmacies repeatedly filled bogus prescriptions for pain pills, and many of those pills then ended up on the street.
Last month, Walgreens agreed to pay an $80 million fine for those violations. The settlement included a promise by Walgreens to take aggressive steps to better train its workers and to implement tougher standards to prevent prescription drug abuse. The crackdown has made Walgreens much more careful about filling prescriptions for painkillers and other types of highly-controlled medications.
So this Walgreens pharmacist Nolte is quoting is either wrong or lying. It’s not some new federal law or rule, but rather a punishment Walgreens agreed to after being found guilty of violating federal law on numerous occasions. That really changes things a lot.
But the final paragraph. Oh the final paragraph. This is the one that really gets me:
Big Business has already shown a willingness to share data with the government and to help big government programs like ObamaCare succeed and there is just no question that the federal government is escalating its intrusion into what should be the most personal information of all — the status of our personal health.
Did you have to do a double take, like me? Now big business loves Obamacare! That’s a 180 from what the right has said the past three years; big business hates Obamacare.Which one is it?
I have been very vocal about my problems with the ACA and I have stood by them. The problem with the right is that they can’t really say what their problem with it is. That’s why the story constantly changes and every time they generate a new outrage, it is quickly debunked. The only thing they really can pinpoint to as a reason to hate it is the fact that the Democrats passed it and a black guy in the White House signed it into law. And if that isn’t bad enough, the fact that they can’t even admit that is the reason is really telling of how pathetic today’s Republican party really is.