Friday, September 27, 2013


I spotted this on Twitter:

This is on the Drudge homepage now:

The link goes to a story about a delay in small businesses' ability to enroll in Obamacare's insurance markets online. The story (also available here) says:
Gary Cohen, the Health and Human Services department official overseeing the rollout, said small business owners in states with federally-run markets will still be able to go online Oct. 1 and compare their health insurance options.

They can get the process going by filling out a form that will have to be transmitted separately by mail, fax, or as an email attachment. HHS will upload the information into the government's computer systems. The businesses will have to wait until sometime in November to finalize their applications.
Yeah, isn't that typical of the pathetic government -- expecting people in 2013 to use ... fax machines!

Well, I don't know how many doctors Matt Drudge has dealt with recently, but I've been dealing with a few, and, here in New York at least, a lot of doctors' offices still operate by fax. Remember, these aren't British doctors enslaved by evil socialism -- this is in the good old USA, where medicine is a capitalist enterprise, dammit. Some of these are literally Park Avenue doctors. You want test results from one doctor to give to another? You have to send the request by fax. The results -- often the handwritten results -- go by fax. Even doctors' offices that have discovered this new gizmo called e-mail (I've encountered one such office here in the city so far) have to keep a working fax machine for this purpose.

Look, there's some validity to the right's criticism of how government agencies run things. But private enterprise has just as many problems. Capitalism is only a magic cure for all ills in Ayn Rand novels.


And, of course, Obamacare offers incentives for medical offices to switch to electronic records -- and right-wingers don't like that, either.


Ed Crotty said...

Doctors use fax a lot because it is not easily forwarded - which adds a lot of security.

Ten Bears said...

Faxed copies of original documents, in particular with signature, retain the integrity of the original documents, and unlike photos and email acceptable in a court of law.

I don't have any faith in modern medicine, but speaking from twenty years of computer support, instruction and engineering I have a high degree of confidence in its practitioners technical skills.

They're not lawyers, or politicians.

No fear.

Steve M. said...

I think that's changing. I've been asked for e-signatures recently in a number of non-medical contexts.

Dark Avenger said...

I just e-mailed a signed W-4 to my employer a few days ago, so even email copies of documents are acceptable by businesses these days.

Victor said...

Downloadable copies with signatures as e-mail attachments have been acceptable for years, I though.

Maybe I'm wrong.
Or, I've lived in more technologically advanced states like NY and NC (before NC started its recent move back to the Dark Ages).

IanEye said...

of course there is the obvious irony in a website (drudge) that looks like it was formatted in 1999 giving anyone else a hard time for appearing out of touch

Steve M. said...

Good point, Ian.

Tom Hilton said...

Also, too? Did Drudge miss the part of the sentence that said "or as an email attachment?

Examinator said...

If my memory serves me correctly. both faxes and photo copies are deliberately slightly altered to prevent forgeries .
each subsequent copy contains that alteration. Copies of copies increase the change.

Hunter said...

At one of the best hospitals in the Midwest, the nurse for a specialist I had to see had to have my medication list faxed from the clinic where my doctor has his office. Not weird, maybe, except they're in the same building and share the same hospital computer system.

I don't think it's so much being behind the times as compartmentalization, security concerns, and the like.