China to Issue Medical Information Card

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If the U.S. government came up with a similar plan, the libertarians and conspiracy theory whackos would scream bloody murder and pressure Congress to drop it. Too bad, since this sounds like a pretty good idea:

A card to store people’s health records and settle medical expenses will be launched nationwide by China’s Ministry of Health, Beijing Times reported on Friday.

The card will be used for storing health information, trans-regional medical data exchanges and paying bills, according to the report. The card, for permanent residents in different regions, will be issued and managed by local health administrative departments. (China Daily)

Why can’t Americans have nice things, like decent affordable health care?

I’m sure there are privacy issues here, and most Chinese companies are about as good with data privacy as is Facebook (i.e. mercenary). What would help, of course (warning: editorial comment), would be a decent data privacy law, which has been “under consideration” for over a decade.

So yeah, there could be problems with implementation of a card like this. However, I’m still going with a thumbs up. Eventually I’d like to see a national system, since the capabilities of local health departments varies widely, and some of them will no doubt screw this up in as-yet-unimaginable ways.