If you think your medical records are private, your Federal government disagrees with you.
Mark Horne has posted that, by requiring electronic medical records, the government is setting itself up to have access to all our health information. Here is circumstantial evidence that he is right, as reported at Rare.us: “The DEA is rummaging around thousands of people’s medical files without warrants.”
DEA, as you probably know, stands for Drug Enforcement Administration—a Federal agency.
The agency has been caught lying about its agents’ identities to get doctors and nurses to give them access to medical files, which DEA representatives then rummage through sans warrant looking for patients and medical professionals to prosecute for drug abuse. Watchdog.org’s Texas Bureau reports:
“The Drug Enforcement Administration has been sifting through hundreds of supposedly private medical files, looking for Texas doctors and patients to prosecute without the use of warrants. Instead, the agents are tricking doctors and nurses into thinking they’re with the Texas Medical Board. When that doesn’t work, they’re sending doctors subpoenas demanding medical records without court approval.”
And how often is this happening? Nobody knows! The DEA told the Daily Caller that it has issued “probably thousands” of these court-less, warrant-less subpoenas, but it doesn’t know exactly how many.
The fate of the practice is at this point unclear, because so far the only successful challenges have come at the state level in cases where state patient privacy laws are stricter than federal rules:
“Early last year, a federal court in Oregon ruled the DEA could not access the state’s prescription database without a warrant. Unfortunately, this was due to Oregon’s state laws being more restrictive than federal law. A federal judge in Texas reached the opposite conclusion, finding that the DEA’s use of administrative subpoenas complied with both HIPAA and state law. This decision is now headed for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where it is hoped a finding similar to the decision in Oregon will be the end result. But judging from the laws in place, that outcome is doubtful.”
In the meantime, this represents a grave privacy violation for Texans and citizens of any other state where the DEA’s “probably thousands” of investigations are underway.
How can the DEA possibly be told it is free to scan through the populace’s private medical histories in the hopes of finding an offense or a reason to investigate?
Just as a reminder, this is the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
So no matter what the courts say, we know that the Federal agencies think they have the right to simply go through our papers. So far, it appears these records are in filing cabinets. But once they are in electronic databases, do you think the DEA will hesitate to find a way to hack into them?
It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing and you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see another goal of Obamacare.