Right-wing columnist says Obamacare will spawn government snooping into your sex life


In a column for the New York Post, Betsy McCaughey, an inveterate and hysterical critic of Obamacare, ENVISIONS this unsettling scenario:

“Are you sexually active? If so, with one partner, multiple partners or same-sex partners?”

Be ready to answer those questions and more the next time you go to the doctor, whether it’s the dermatologist or the cardiologist and no matter if the questions are unrelated to why you’re seeking medical help. And you can thank the Obama health law…

The president’s “reforms” aim to turn doctors into government agents, pressuring them financially to ask questions they consider inappropriate and unnecessary, and to violate their Hippocratic Oath to keep patients’ records confidential.

Embarrassing though it may be, you confide things to a doctor you wouldn’t tell anyone else. But this is entirely different.

Doctors and hospitals who don’t comply with the federal government’s electronic-health-records requirements forgo incentive payments now; starting in 2015, they’ll face financial penalties from Medicare and Medicaid. The Department of Health and Human Services has already paid out over $12.7 billion for these incentives.

But, of course, McCaughey’s argument — like so many other nutcase arguments against Obamacare — is pure rubbish.

HERE‘s what PolitFact say about the matter:

McCaughey’s claim was utterly at odds with the evidence.

“Arrgghhh — now I have heard it all!” said Molly Cooke, president of the American College of Physicians.

Cooke, an internist, told PolitiFact that when she was in medical school in the 1970s, she was taught to ask:

• Are you sexually active (with other people)?

• If yes, are your partners men, women or both?

• If no, is that out of choice, because you don’t currently have an appealing partner, because you have no privacy, or some other reason?

• Are you happy with your sex life, however it is?

“My classmates and I were taught to ask all patients all four questions,” she said. “I am not saying that we always did it, but these questions are as old as the hills.”

The rationale is that patients’ answers may reveal important information about their health, safety and well-being, she said. Her medical practice happens to focus on patients with HIV and other complex chronic illnesses.

But let’s say some doctors, such as the cardiologist quoted by McCaughey, find such questions “insensitive, stupid and very intrusive.”

McCaughey wrote that the president’s “reforms” aim to “turn doctors into government agents, pressuring them financially to ask questions they consider inappropriate and unnecessary.”

Yet that cardiologist could earn government incentives for meaningful use of electronic health records whether he asked “sex questions” or not…

McCaughey frames her concern for patient privacy with an evidence-free attack on Obamacare that veers toward the ridiculous. We call it Pants on Fire.



  1. So it’s true! Because as well all know Obamacare isn’t a single plan. It’s a series of exchanges where you can select a plan. Some of those plans will expect you to answer health related questions about yourself (shocking, i know!) Those of us without plans today probably aren’t used to answering questions like those. Instead we are used to going to the ER and answering questions like, “How did the piece of rebar get into your head?”

  2. Actually the truth of the matter lies somewhere in between.

    Health care reform (including the ACA and EMR meaningful use) do mandate extra collection of information and documentation of that information. It mandates that certain screening exams and other health maintainence procedures be performed.

    And soon (10/14) ICD-10 will mandate much greater detail for billing of health care treatment and procedures. Detail that is not directly related to the care of the patient but that is focused on collecting much more data in order to track various population health issues.

    Is this data being collected for nefarious purposes? No. But under health care reform patients will consistently and progressively feel pressed to undergo various screening and health maintainence activities. All of these will be targeted at maintaining health but some people are not going to like it.

  3. Craig Knauss

    Obamacare will result in government snooping into our sex lives? You mean like laws regarding gay marriage, sodomy, divorce, abortion, adultery, etc.?

    We already have that. The Conservatives call it “Family Values”.

  4. Steverino

    Time to dust off the Alfred Kinsey questionnaire.

  5. thehereandnow1

    Pat, I am shocked and appalled at your choice of graphic for this story. Are you aware of the environmental ramifications of pants burning? Your choice of graphic shows that you condone pants burning. Are you aware that 10 pairs of pants burning is the equivalent of 1 Al Gore at an all-you-can-eat Mexican Buffet? Both have dire consequences for a world so close to environmental collapse.

    And secondly, man evolved to wear pants, not burn them. And thank goodness they did evolve, because if it were up to creation that silly fable known as ‘god’ would have us still wearing tunics and robes.

    To think that someone as environmentally and evolution conscious would be so flippant to use a pro-pants burning graphic.

  6. Juan Diego

    Actually didn’t the Sarah Fluke dust-up prove that the libs are quite happy to have the Feds involved in their bedroom activities?

  7. Juan: Who gave you that idea? Rush Limbaugh?

  8. Craig Knauss


    Maybe you should read the following link. You seem more than a bit “confused”.


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