U.S. Health Reform Plan Does Not Call for RFID Tracking

Internet-based rumors that proposed health-care reform bills in Washington, D.C., call for everyone to be tracked with radio frequency identification are absurd.
Published: December 8, 2009

The Internet is great for sharing information. The problem is, it’s often false information that gets spread—perhaps more quickly than accurate information.

I recently saw a blog post headlined “RFID microchip included in Health care bill. Since it appears to me no one in Washington has a clue about RFID, I was intrigued and clicked on the link.

The post said “human microchips” (I didn’t know chips could be human) are included in the health-care bill (it didn’t say which one) under the Sub Title C-11 Sec:2521, which creates a national medical device registry. The blogger writes: “This is the begining (sic) of tracking all movements that you personaly (sic) make, it will also have all your records and will allow the government up to date data to just what you are doing and where you are at.”

Wow! Scary stuff.

I did a search for “Sub Title C-11 Sec:2521” on Google, and found many posts essentially saying the same thing. I also found the text of both the House bill and the Senate bill, and there is no “Sub Title C-11 Sec:2521.”

There is, however, a section on a national medical device registry (Sub Title C, Section 2561), which reads: “The Secretary shall establish a national medical device registry (in this subsection referred to as the ‘registry’) to facilitate analysis of postmarket safety and outcomes data on each device that (a) is or has been used in or on a patient; and (b) is…a device that is implantable, life supporting or life-sustaining.”

So basically, the bill put forth by the U.S. House of Representatives wants to track the results of these devices and link them to a registry so a doctor looking to implant a device in a patient can check whether it actually worked in previous patients who received the device. There is no mention of RFID, and no mention of tracking individuals who receive the device.

I’m not sure if bloggers simply can’t read, or if they are using this kind of misinformation to scare people on purpose. Either way, it’s an unfortunate part of the Internet that we just have to accept. I do find it ironic that some of those who oppose RFID because they claim it will be abused are themselves abusing the openness of the Internet. Oh, well.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog or click here.