Implanting a CHIP on Every US Citizen: We Can, But Should We? Implanting a CHIP on Every US Citizen: We Can, But Should We? “According to the language in the new health care bill, it will be required for all American citizens to be implanted with an RFID chip” (Health Care Bill Required RFID implanted chip, 2010)…
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Versel (2009) has pointed out that even Dr. John Halamka, (CIO of Harvard Medical School) “has officially given up on the idea that people will want to carry their medical records on implanted RFID chips. Halamka had a chip implanted in 2004, but doesn't think the public will ever widely accept the technology” (Versel, 2009). This paper analyses the whether it is ethically right or wrong to ask all the public to implant an RFID chip. As per the new health care bill signed recently, “the government will give everybody a health ID card that contains a machine readable device (magnetic strip or RFID chip) similar to a credit card. Embedded in this chip or strip is your Health Identification Number” (Charrington, 2011). It is easy for the government to provide medical assistance to all the people instantly instead of asking the people to submit papers for insurance claims or medical claims. Hospitals will be paid instantly after the processing of medical claims of the patient. Since the patient’s bank account details are enclosed in the RFID chip, it is easy for the hospitals to collect the balance amount from patient’s personal account. RFID chips have the ability to store all the necessary information a doctor wants to know about a patient so that the treatment procedures could be easily determined. For getting previous medical history, doctors are referring the old case files of the patients at present which is a time consuming process. The tracking of previous medical history of the patient can be made easy with the help of RFID chips. Another major advantage of implanted RFID chips is the usefulness in tracking some kind of patients. For example, “patients with Alzheimer’s disease who wander away from home can be easily detected with the help of implanted RFID chip. “An identifier that enables caregivers to identify nonverbal of confused patience and determine their health care preferences could be very desirable. However inserting a chip into a patient who is incapable of giving consent raises ethical issues” (Olivera, n. d, p.2). “RFID chip will not only contain your personal information with tracking capability but it will also be linked to your bank account”(Healthcare RFID, 2010). One of the major concerns about the implanted RFID chip is the privacy issues. Anybody, who possesses suitable equipment to read the data inside the RFID chip, can read the private data of a person unknowingly and misuse it for personal gains. For example, the RFID chip may consists of so many private data of the person including, his credit card details, passport number, bank account details etc. If stolen, these data can be misused in different ways. Identity thefts may become easier after the implantation of RFID chips. According to Jim Kourie (2009) the major drawback to microchip implants is the suspicion that they are linked to cancer (Kourie, 2009). It should be noted that RFID chips send and receive information with the help of radio frequency (RF) radiations which can cause cancer and other diseases. In other words, people who are implanted with RFID chips are vulnerable to harmful radiations. The debate about the health problems generated by mobile phone radiations are going on at present. It is already proved that mobile phone radiations have the ability to cause physical and mental health problems to a person if he is exposed to these radiations beyond certain limits. Under such
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