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Larry Page: You Worry Too Much About Medical Privacy 486

jfruh writes "Larry Page revealed that he'd been suffering from a vocal cord ailment that impaired his ability to speak for more than a year. The positive feedback he got from opening up about it inspired him to tell attendees at Google I/O that we should all be less uptight about keeping our medical records private. As far as Page is concerned, pretty much the only legitimate reason for worry on this score is fear of being denied health insurance. 'Maybe we should change the rules around insurance so that they have to insure people,' he said."
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Larry Page: You Worry Too Much About Medical Privacy

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  • by GauteL ( 29207 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @03:33AM (#43749399)

    Proper medical care should not be subject to an insurance which the insurance companies could refuse to give you due to prior illness. What if someone grows up in a poor family without medical insurance and is diagnosed with a heart defect at a young age which may or may not manifest itself at an older age. If it does happen, they're practically screwed, even if the defect could be treated with proper medical care. The insurance companies could easily say that this is a prior condition that was diagnosed before the insurance was taken out.

    We can argue about socialised medicine, which works pretty well in Europe, warts and all, but it baffles me that such a large portion of Americans are highly enthusiastic about a system where a large for-profit corporation with a huge profit motive can decide to screw you over, due to technicalities in your insurance contract, or because you got a test done when you where 13.

    The rest of Larry Page's arguments seem nonsense to me. We, as a society, should be less judgemental and prickly or private about a lot of illnesses, but as an individual, you have to live in a society where people will judge you for your medical history. We are not ready for full disclosure and probably never will be.

  • Re:insure? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cenan ( 1892902 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @04:52AM (#43749707)

    How is any of that a problem? Those a fabricated arguments against subset of a whole, arguments that can easily be dealt with.

    - Elective surgery is not covered with public health care. Why would it be? Why would this even be a problem?
    - Why not help the old? What have YOU done that's so great recently? Old people have paid taxes for far longer than you, why should they not be allowed to live their life to the fullest? Remember, old people are just ex-workers who, you know, got old.

    1) What? Health care does not give free access to someone else's labor any more than calling the police when you've been robbed does. What a fucking moronic thing to say.
    2) Yes you pay for it, because everybody gets covered equally. And when you're down on your luck in a auto accident, looking at loosing both your legs, I bet you will shut the fuck up and take the treatment.

    Reading your reply is like listening to those fuckwits who drone on and on about how global warming might not be real, so we shouldn't strive to make the world a better, cleaner place to live in. To you and to them: shut the fuck up and move over, real people live here and you're wasting our space.

  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Friday May 17, 2013 @06:52AM (#43750213)

    “Computer science has a marketing problem." That's what Larry said. And his presentation was about marketing more than anything. He was trying to sell the world view that works great for his company, and he certainly put his sour grapes on the table.

    He talks of "resistance to technological change", which is code for Google Glasses and the glasshole syndrome. He talks of how people should should be more relaxed with their medical records, which is code for Google Health. They had a clear plan how they were going to make money with Google Health (selling user data). The problem was that, on the user side, they had a solution that was in search of an actual need. But Google has made it clear that they're not going to learn that lesson.

    You know, I kind of like his idea of a mirror universe where more avant-garde ideas can be tested out, in small scale, in the real-world. He wanted a Burning Man type of environment for new technology. Actually, Eureka (the town from the TV show of the same name) might have been a closer fit (although the reference would have been lesser-known, and is almost synonymous with disaster). Being able to try things out (on the small scale and a limited geography) and work out the problems there is great for allowing a company to iterate on a product without the marketing backlash for failures.

    In theory, I'd love to live in that Eureka town. But only if it was about the product and about the science. The only thing Google Health did for me was to convince me that Google's products and services aren't about what they deliver (search, ubiquitous health records). They are about Google's real customers (advertisers, health care industry) and Google's real problem is finding a way to get everyone to jump on board so they can make money. That's what he is saying, in code, when he says "computer science has a marketing problem".

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito