Biden’s Door-to-Door Vaccine Effort: A Shallow Workaround for HIPAA

door to door vaccine effort

July 11, 2021

Recently, President Joe Biden announced that his administration would be ramping up COVID-19 vaccination efforts. In the wake of the United States failing to hit its self-imposed goal of 70 percent of eligible people being vaccinated, Biden announced that his administration would be pursuing an unconventional door-to-door approach, urging unvaccinated people to get the vaccine.

The New York Times reported that the plan “would send people door to door, set up clinics at workplaces and urge employers to offer paid time off as part of a renewed push to reach tens of millions of unvaccinated Americans.”

President Biden also said that “we need to go community-by-community, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and oftentimes door-to-door, literally knocking on doors”, the Daily Caller reported. 

Recently, in an interview with the conservative news outlet Right Side Broadcasting Network at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) stated that the new door-to-door efforts could be used to confiscate bibles and guns: 

“Think about the mechanisms they would have to build to be able to actually execute that massive of a thing. And then think about what those mechanisms could be used for. They could then go door to door and take your guns. They could go door to door and take your bibles.”

Cringe. A little over the top, Congressman. The performative outrage exhibited by popular conservative politicians like Cawthorn, usually followed by a raucous applause at a political rally is precisely the type of messaging conservatives ought to be avoiding right now.

However, Biden’s door-to-door policy, while being incredibly unlikely that it will be used to confiscate firearms, certainly reeks of other shallow, more nefarious intentions, more specifically, with HIPAA.

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or more specifically that law’s privacy rule, prevents a patient’s medical history from being disclosed without their knowledge. Under federal law, federal, state, and local entities cannot inquire about a patient’s medical history from any public or private medical institution. In fact, medical practitioners are not allowed to even disclose if a particular patient is even being treated at their respective facility. 

So, with that, we know for a fact that the federal government is not accessing private patient information in order to see who is vaccinated, and who isn’t. The only way through HIPAA is for a patient to sign a formal waiver that allows third parties to access their information, with the specific records and parties that are being granted access listed on the waiver. 

But this, theoretically, all goes away when the government begins to send people door-to-door. The specific details regarding the inner-workings of Biden’s novel door-to-door strategy are currently unknown, but it is possible that the government does have access to general information regarding specific communities and the percentage of people within those communities who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.

With this in mind, it is probably best to not count on any of Biden’s vaccine marauders coming to your house or neighborhood if you live in a community that has attained an acceptable percentage of people vaccinated, whatever that number may be. 

In the spirit of acknowledging the 500-pound gorilla in the room, it’s pretty obvious that Democrats support more government intervention regarding COVID-19. The desire of Democrat politicians and their bureaucratic accomplices in the CDC to preclude the rights of American citizens in the name of “public health” has been an egregious display. 

New York’s vaccine passport is a good example of government conivingly weaseling around HIPAA. The passport doesn’t apply to HIPAA-covered facilities, such as hospitals or clinics, nor is it mandated by the state. Legally requiring a vaccine passport in the same manner as a driver’s license would be a HIPAA violation, but that of course, isn’t the case. They are however mandated by many businesses and venues within New York, which aren’t HIPAA-covered facilities. This threatens to alienate those who make the personal decision not to get the vaccine.

Bureaucrats, for as incompetent as they may be, aren’t necessarily stupid. They understand that when a law prohibits them from doing what they want to do, the next best thing is to find a loophole that achieves the same ends. In this case, New York’s bureaucrats decided to segregate their state. They did this not by passing a law that says “thou shall be vaccinated,” but by simply giving corporations and businesses, many of which are still kowtowed by their COVID-paranoid customers and employees, the tools they need to create said segregation themselves. This new “us and them” paradigm, the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, is widely accepted because the state’s political and socio-cultural make-up not only allows it, but also regularly reveres it. 

A vaccine passport isn’t mandatory in New York, but it’s mandatory.

The Biden administration is potentially doing the same thing. The federal government will never be guilty of committing HIPAA violations, but that doesn’t mean sly workarounds aren’t possible. 

HIPAA is an effective piece of legislation because it strikes the balance between the necessary information that nurses and physicians need to access in order to treat people, and that very same information not getting into the hands of anyone other than your doctor without your consent. But as stated previously, the government can only bypass HIPAA if a written waiver is signed by the patient. 

So what gives the federal government the right to inquire about your immunizations? Well, technically, nothing. But this can be bypassed if unsuspecting American citizens, who are pretty unlikely to know their rights under HIPAA by heart (most Americans don’t even know the rights they’re entitled to under the Constitution), answer yes or no, even though it’s really none of Washington’s business. 

Allow me to reiterate: you are not obligated to disclose any private medical information to the government. Only your consent, informed or uninformed, can permit them to know your vaccination status.

Whether or not the Biden administration intends to keep track of who specifically answers yes or no, either by a person’s name or home address, is to be determined. This whole article could very well be wrong, but Madison Cawthorn is at least right about one thing: always be weary of federal officials inquiring about your private health information, or any private information for that matter.

It is always beneficial for a free people to figuratively arm themselves with adamant skepticism towards government benevolence.

 

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