ObamaCare (TM) Revealed: Right Wing Remembers 4th Amendment

Word on the street is that the President is pushing for healthcare reform in a big way, and draft legislation is being circulated. I don’t have much hope that this is going to be enacted in any sort of frugal, sensible fashion, but I agree that there is room for improvement in the system if it’s handled intelligently. Unfortunately, we may not be off to a smashing start, as Ed Morrissey notes at Hot Air.

The title:Quality Affordable Health Care for All Americans. And the first thing past the title?

[Note: Further revisions are needed to complete the work of integrating provisions into the existing HIPAA structure.]

Maybe they should have finished doing the actual work on the bill before introducing it.

Yes, yes, I get the fact that it’s a draft, but the current management – on the heels of the Bush team – have both made me a bit gun shy about jumping off cliffs without finishing the hard work. (Or, for that matter, even reading the bills.) See TARP.

Ed notes another potential problem area with the proposed legislation which I believe deserves further study, but should come with a caveat for my Republican and conservative friends.

It’s worth noting that HIPAA ensures patient privacy, which should be a really big deal if we’re letting the government run everything. Without knowing how or whether this works with HIPAA, how can Congress even consider this bill?

“Gateway” means “provider,” and this appears to do away with that pesky Fourth Amendment, which normally requires search warrants and probable cause to access the records of individuals and businesses. Not under ObamaCare! Now, everyone belongs to the government … rather than the other way around. George Orwell, call your office!

You know what, Ed? You make a pretty good point there. And you’re not the only one! (Track the responses at Memeorandum from both sides of the aisle, with particular attention paid to the Right wing authors.) The privacy concerns here, from the brief bit I’ve read thus far, call for a deeper, very serious look. Of course, I’d probably be shaking my pom-poms in synchronous formation with you in a bit more vigorous fashion if it weren’t for one nagging detail.

A lot of these voices are the same folks that didn’t seem to think it was any big deal for the government to intercept electronic communications without a warrant, even if one of the participants was a U.S. citizen. They also didn’t care much if the Feds checked out what you were browsing on the computers at the local library or even the books you checked out. In fact, it almost seems as if there’s no problem with such activity so long as it’s a Republican president and he’s doing it in the vague and ambiguous name of the “war on terror.”

No matter, though. The more Libertarian among us will welcome you back on board the privacy train, even though some of you seemed to take the last eight years off from such concerns. Welcome back!

         

4 Comments

  1. “(2) INVESTIGATIONS – The Secretary may investigate the affairs of a Gateway, may examine the properties and records of a Gateway, and may require periodical reports in relation to activities undertaken by a Gateway. A Gateway shall fully cooperate in any investigation conducted under this paragraph.”

    Um…please explain how this is different than an audit.

    If fraud is suspected from said audit, then the criminal process could start, and that'd have all the warrants and stuff.

  2. We should be vigilant when it comes to privacy concerns, especially in an age of big government.

    However! It is laughable for Mr. Ed to bring up these complaints. Morrissey is a big fan of our government's domestic warrantless wiretapping program, as well as our indefinite detention centers like Gitmo.

  3. ChrisWWW,

    There is a world of difference between the government looking through everyone's medical records without cause with the National Security Agency listening to phonecalls made fro Pakistan to the United States.

    Can you cite one case where warrantless electronic intelligence gathering has been used in a U.S. Court? I doubt it. Remember, the enforcement mechanism for illegally obtained evidence is that the information not be used in criminal court proceedings.

  4. sd,
    The spying program is not restricted to calls from or to foreign lands. Do you remember the AT&T room in San Francisco that the NSA setup to send everything on AT&Ts network to the government?

    It doesn't matter whether or not this power has been used to gather evidence for the courts. They could use it as a pretext to send you off to one of our indefinite detention centers. Or they could use it to dig up some other kind of dirt on you. There are so many laws in this country that anyone and everyone commits a few unknowingly every day.

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