Limited Taxation & Government
18 Tremont Street #608 Boston, Massachusetts
02108 (617) 248-0022
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web-page: http://cltg.org
Wednesday, July 22, 1998
Greetings activists and supporters:
Things are pretty hectic at CLT&G these says, as the staff scrambles to finish
our move out of the Boston office on Tremont Street while not missing a beat on the
political front. We'll be completely out of there by the end of this month, and will
continue our mission from our home offices, as Barbara and I have been doing for over a
year (and I've always done). I'll keep you posted when the office is officially nothing
more than a memory of unnecessary daily commutes.
One of the two lone members of the Beacon Hill "loyal opposition" party, free
from the grip of Imperious Maximus Finneran, has spoken out against the "Finneran's
Favorites" pay raise, which includes two token Republicans ready to take his
blood money in exchange for silence. Treasurer Joe Malone fired a broadside, reported
And just as we thought we were making
progress in killing the National I.D. Card threat, the Republicans in Congress are
promoting yet another use for it!
On the very same day that Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn (R-WA) -- a member
of the Capitol Hill Republican House leadership team -- was answering Barbara's direct
question, telling the teleconferencing group of state taxpayers groups "never in
America!" and glowing over Congress's likely passage of the "Citizens
Privacy Protection Act" and "Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act,"
her Republican counterparts voted to reject delaying a program to give every American
"a computer identification number to track health care from birth to death."
The overworked Congressman Ron Paul, along with U.S. Rep. Bob Stump (R-Arizona),
has again filed a bill, the "Patient Privacy Act," H.R. 4281.
Despite the political doublespeak, do you smell a concerted effort to get us all
registered in the federal government's computer bank and toting around National I.D.
Cards, one way or another? (The AP wire story and Congressman Paul's response are below.)
The state Supreme Judicial Kangaroo Court apparently is satisfied with
its "out of court settlement" with the Legislature, now that the $700 million
for court improvements, and judicial pay raises, have been passed, and it is trying to
reclaim a modicum of respectability. Yesterday Associate Justice Neil Lynch finally
allowed a ballot question challenged before the SJKC to move forward to the
ballot ... the first in a long time!
If that name sounds familiar, it should. It was Associate Justice Lynch who in
1995 ruled that Secretary of State Galvin didn't have to print our second round of
petition blanks -- as mandated by the state constitution -- because the court would
probably throw it out if eventually approved by the voters. This ruling came even though
the full court in its opinion had stated that our "Act to Encourage a Citizen
Legislature" (through pay cuts and shorter legislative sessions) was "still
introduced and pending."
The Campaign for Fair Electric Rates, which wants the Legislature's electric deregulation
law to go before the voters to decide, successfully defeated Associated Industries of
Massachusetts' (AIM) and the power companies' challenge on constitutional grounds, as well
as their challenges of some 12,000 signatures more than required before the state Ballot
Committee and the SJKC. The legal harassment cost to the grassroots group: over $150,000.
Be prepared for a multi-million dollar campaign this fall by the industry to keep their
millions, if not billions, in "stranded costs" coming out of us rate-payers'
Chip Ford --
The Boston Herald
Friday, July 24, 1998
Malone: House leaders unworthy of raise
By Ellen J. Silberman
State Treasurer Joseph D. Malone yesterday called on acting Gov. Paul
Cellucci to veto pay raises for well-connected House leaders.
"Paul Cellucci and the Legislature are increasing spending at
the rate of 7 percent. That's too liberal," said Malone.
"Their performance is not worthy of a pay raise," said the
treasurer, who is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination on the platform that
stresses fiscal conservatism.
The $19.6 billion budget approved Monday by the state Legislature
adds $7,500 to the paychecks of House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran's four floor leaders.
Those positions already pay $7,500 above lawmakers' $46,200 base
Two chairmen, two vice chairmen and two top Republicans also got
$7,500 raises as part of the House budget.
The floor leaders wage hikes are controversial because their main job
is to count votes and quiet dissent in the House. All the raises are retroactive to
On Wednesday, state Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, the
Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner, said he would veto the $7,500 wage hikes for 10 of
Finneran's top lieutenants if the House didn't approve a minimum-wage increase.
Finneran (D-Mattapan), who opposes raising the salary of the state's
lowest paid workers, has been flipping and flopping about whether he plans to allow a vote
on the issue.
Despite critics from both sides, Cellucci again refused to commit to
killing the legislators' wage hikes.
"I'll announce all my (veto) decisions next week when we sign
the budget," Cellucci said.
In May, the acting governor flatly refused to comment on the
controversial raises, saying, "It might not even get to my desk. Why cause heartburn
if I don't have to?"
Finneran has defended the raises, saying his floor leaders deserve
them because they help run the 160-member House of Representatives.
Congress Won't Delay Medical IDs
Associated Press - July 22, 1998
By LAURA MECKLER
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Prompted by questions about patient privacy
rights, House Republicans considered -- but rejected delaying a program to give
every American a computer identification number to track health care from birth to death.
In a 1996 law, Congress directed the Clinton administration to
implement the plan. But the administration has moved slowly, fearing sensitive information
about health and medical treatments could land in the wrong hands.
While the administration has implemented related portions of the law,
it has yet to even issue a proposal for the patient ID in light of misgivings by privacy
advocates and some doctors' groups.
The ID numbers are meant to aid insurance companies that need to
track medical histories as patients move from one plan to another, and to help health
researchers by providing unprecedented data about the effect of treatments over a
Members of Congress did not recognize the privacy implications of
what they had done until media reports about the issue came out this week, said a
Republican congressional aide who worked with the House leadership in considering a delay.
Leaders considered putting the plan on hold while they looked at it
more carefully, the aide said. But in a meeting late Wednesday afternoon, they decided to
let the law stand.
The 1996 law that established the identifying code is known chiefly
for allowing many Americans to keep their health insurance when they change jobs, even if
they have pre-existing detrimental health conditions. The law also directed the
administration to assign codes to health care providers and insurance companies. Those
plans are moving forward.
Congress of the United
Honorable Ron Paul
News Release: Legislation stops "Medical ID"
Paul measure stops intrusion into private medical histories
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, July 21, 1998
WASHINGTON, DC - Saying that Americans have the right to privacy in the medical lives,
free of fear from prying eyes in the government, US Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on Tuesday
introduced the Patient Privacy Act (H.R. 4281) to stop a proposed "medical national
ID." US Rep. Bob Stump (R-Arizona) is an original cosponsor of the legislation.
The proposed ID program arises from the 1996 "Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act." The '96 law calls for the
creation of a "standard unique health care identifier" for all Americans. This
identifier would create a national database containing the medical history of all
Rep. Paul, a physician, said the program creates a uniquely
horrifying prospect for future privacy losses.
"Suddenly, the medical history of all Americans will be
accessible to anyone with a grudge, or with mischievous or criminal intent. It would allow
federal bureaucrats and possibly every medical professional, hospital, and HMO in the
country to access an individual's record simply by entering the 'identifier' into a
national database," said Paul. "I ask my colleagues, how comfortable would you
be confiding any emotional problem -- or even an embarrassing physical problem like
impotence -- to your doctor if you knew that this information could be easily accessed by
friend, political foe, possible employers, coworkers, HMOs, and even government
Such a system could have a chilling effect on people's desire to get
treatment for potentially life-threatening conditions.
"As a physician, I know well that oftentimes effective treatment
depends on a patient's ability to place absolute trust in his or her doctor. But how can
there be trust when patients know that any and all information given the doctor will be
placed in a database accessible to anyone with the patient's 'identifier?'"
Despite assurances from the medical ID proponents, Paul said that
nothing could possibly be done to alleviate the potential abuses of the system.
"History has shown that attempts to protect the privacy of information collected by
the government are ineffective at protecting citizens from the prying eyes of government
officials. Think of the numerous cases of IRS abuses that have recently been brought to
Congress' attention, or the history of abuse of FBI files in the Executive Branch, or even
the case of a Medicaid clerk in Maryland who accessed a computerized database and sold
patient names to an HMO."
Paul said Congress must act quickly to protect the rights of
Americans from prying eyes.
"The federal government has no authority to endanger the privacy
of personal medical information by forcing all citizens to adopt a uniform health
identifier for use in a national data base. A uniform health ID endangers constitutional
liberties, threatens doctor-patient relationships, and opens the door to federal officials
accessing to deeply personal medical information for political political purposes,"
said Paul. "There can be no justification for risking the rights of private
From "High Tech and the Age of Intrusion"
By Chip Ford, © 1995:
. . . Intense congressional debate occurred over the proposed Social Security Act out of a
fear that mandatory enumeration of individual Americans would lead to a national
identification program, internal identification papers, and abuses such as those then
arising in totalitarian states such as Hitler's Nazi Germany and Stalin's USSR. Proponents
and legislators allayed those fears by promising that Social Security Numbers (SSNs) would
never be used except for the sole purpose of providing a national record-keeping system
for the retirement, survivors, and disability income insurance program then under
That was the first promise.
The Social Security Act was passed in 1935, and became effective on
January 1, 1937. With the stroke of his pen, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established a
precedent which set the United States on a road of diminishing privacy on a subtle,
pervasive scale never before experienced in the history of mankind. Sixty years later its
impact and, more importantly, its potential remains beyond our full appreciation or
The 1935 assurance of confidentiality and single-purpose necessary
for congressional acceptance was breached a little at a time, and always with expressed
good intentions. This system of enumeration nurtured a steady expansion in use of SSNs as
individual identifiers for purposes both governmental and private. The cumulative result
has been an ever-widening and readily available volume of confidential personal
documentation -- often of questionable accuracy -- on virtually every citizen in the
Since 1970, Congress has incrementally expanded the use of and
requirement for SSNs, such as the replacement of military service serial numbers by SSNs.
Today's increasing public acceptance of SSNs as a de facto national identification number
is evident, and excesses brought on by a broken congressional promise are manifest.
For decades following adoption of the Social Security Act, SSNs were
required only of those earning an income and mandated by the Federal Insurance
Contributions Act to pay into the FICA fund, and were required to be provided only to
employers and banks. The Family Support Act of 1988 changed that by requiring young
children and new-borns to be registered with the Social Security Administration and
assigned a SSN if they are to be claimed by parents as a tax-deductible dependent.
The promise again was broken and a SSN is now assigned at birth and
carried until death and beyond. ...
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