The Dangers of Trump’s Privatization of Hospitalization Data

The Dangers of Trump’s Privatization of Hospitalization Data

First, the country’s hospitalization data was just going to be transferred to HHS, Health and Human Services.  Now, it is actually being farmed out to a private company, chosen without a competitive process.  This represents the complete transfer of responsibility and management of data essential to our survival to the private control of Donald Trump, who is desperately running for re-election, and the nation’s greatest liar and distorter in all of history.

In computerized government projects, it takes months or years to upgrade systems, even by people who are the lifelong handlers of such systems.  It will take a while for not only an upstart company to handle the data, but for all independent hospital systems in the country to redo their data and collect more, to adapt to new forms, and to submit them.  This occurs at the most crucial time of a runaway second explosion of the Coronavirus, which now exceeds the first explosion in many states.  All of the person-years of experience and understanding of the data by the CDC experts is totally trashed.  With new analysis and biases, there will be no continuation of time sequences of previous data.  The Coronavirus projections like the IHME model rely on such health data, and are tuned to its sensitivities.  With an abrupt change, it will take months to regain the same prediction capabilities.

The CDC does not only manage the Coronavirus data, but flu data, and all other diseases.  With delayed vaccinations and medical treatments, we can expect new outbreaks, especially if there are forced school re-openings, and with the newly politicized anti-vaccine movement.

We know Trump is paranoid of the “deep state” of the lifelong expertise and ages of coordination and non-partisan practice from the three million government employees.  We know that Trump has bypassed and muzzled all Executive Branch communication with the public, replacing it with Fox News and his own Press Office, dominated with Fox News professionals.  The latest is in fact the muzzling and disinformation campaign against Dr. Fauci, the government’s expert on the Coronavirus, which has killed 137,000 Americans.

The privatization and total control of the previous CDC data may only be the first instance of taking over all government data and farming it out to other private and Trump controlled companies.  The most crucial government data is that directly concerned with our own health and survival, and that is precisely where Trump started.

The in-government operations are overseen by inspector generals and Congressional oversight, meaning public control.  Private companies have no such checks and balances.  While responsible parties can sue the Trump administration over such an executive action, it would only further delay the effective management of such crucial data.

As an almost-80 years old senior, with five compromising conditions, I am concerned with the overloading of ICUs and ventilators, which has been reached at some hot spots, and is very close at others.  Hospitalizations have hit records in 16 states.  Triaging of who gets such resources clearly eliminates us careful, smart, and old agers, in favor of younger people with greater survival probabilities, and many more years to live.  Even those who contracted the Coronavirus at parties to spread it, or at crowded bars, or who refused to wear masks or observe social distancing, will be saved over us.  So I have the strongest motivations to be concerned about this, and to continue these articles.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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