A Doctor’s Note?

Julie Gillis believes employers should be prevented from getting involved in your medical history.

Article and image previously published on Good Men Project, March 15, 2012

So I just saw this outrageously-titled gem on Jezebel, and believe me, I am NOT trying to add additional fuel to the fire that is the raging debate on oral contraceptives, the federal government, insurance companies and the Church.

Believe me. Cause now we have Viagra bills in the mix.

But I clicked on Jezebel’s link to the Arizona State Press and read this article about a bill endorsed by the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee which would allow employers to ask for proof of a “medical” prescription if the seek the pill for use other then for the non-baby-having variety.

Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.

The more I see bills like this, the more I wonder if it’s about BC at all anymore. I mean, if we create a system in which employers can require knowing such personal things about you in order for you to get medicines, medicines that are private and discussed between you and your PRIVATE medical doctor, then what else can’t they require of you?

I find that thought scary. I realize right now it’s about the ladybusiness, but husbands and male partners are certainly affected by loss of consistent BC. Male employers who don’t want to participate in reviewing medical records may be affected and (I do know I’m sounding a bit paranoid here) but I’m really concerned about the farther reaching implications for anyone who may need/want to take a legally prescribed medication on an insurance plan (which may not be controversial at this time, but who knows in the future), and is required to bring proof to their employer about why.

So let’s think about men. I think if all of us were smart we’d look at the huge picture here, men and women both, ramp down the hyperbole and look at what kind of seriously weird relationships are being forged between government and employers and how that affects OUR relationship with privacy.

What happens when there is focus on the following: Drugs that support sexual health and function come to mind (like the Viagra article above), any medication focused on prostate health, medicines for mental health certainly. What about drugs or procedures that are designed to deal with infertility? Vasectomies? Once a procedure like RISUG is available here? Proof your anti-virals aren’t for HIV/Herpes/HPV suppression?

What about drugs that repair damage done by “irresponsible life choices” such cholesterol lowering drugs for those eating too much red meat, or diabetes meds, smoking patches, and more.

Is the bill (and other fights like it) a stepping stone towards the eradication of HIPPA and EEOC? Cause the reach seems kind of out of control to me.

Decisions we make with our doctors should be private. While I appreciate the desire for a religious exemption, I don’t want anyone’s right to privacy eroded, nor do I want anyone’s employer to get to peek at medical records because they don’t like what someone is doing. I’m also getting a little frustrated with playing political football with people’s access to medicine.

Is there another way through this mess? Ideas? Surely, we can do better than this!

 

Photo courtesy of Fillmore Photography

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