One of the most compelling and well-written books I have read in a long time is Thomas DiLorenzo’s “Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth about Government.”  In almost every chapter he drives home the very simple point that we would never tolerate behavior from an individual that is every day and commonplace for governments all over the world and all through time.  In short, governments routinely engage in activities that would be considered criminal for you and me.  

I thought about this conundrum recently while reading about a medical data breach at a large hospital system, the work of Chinese hackers if you believe the media.  In spite of having taken all precautions, embracing all safeguards, their system was compromised using a malware software.  The hospital system had even purchased insurance to protect them from such an incident, a policy that served to make the victimized patients “whole,” or as best as possible.  Their efforts to prevent such a cyber attack and their efforts to insure that anyone victimized by such an attack are laudable.  But nothing will protect them from Uncle Sam’s HIPPA knives, congressional hearings and fines likely on the way.

Here is the order of events, then:

The federal government requires the purchase of electronic medical records systems or slashes Medicare reimbursements for those who don’t comply.

Once digitized and no longer secure, the patient medical records, if vandalized, represent an almost limitless liability to the physician or hospital in whose possession the records rest when compromised.

All the while, the federal government requires that digitized patient data be transmitted to them (meaningful use) without the patient’s consent in order to better order our lives and for our own good.  

The most prominent item in Ron Paul’s office was a sign that said, “Don’t steal.  The government hates competition!”  I think the same can be said about HIPPA, a law which basically grants the government a monopoly on violating the medical privacy of individuals.

I find it impossible to believe that the “state” cares about our medical privacy when no group of Chinese hackers can begin to more effectively mine our personal information than the government health care hackers (never mind the NSA!).  The hypocrisy of those who enforce and benefit from HIPPA should be clear to all, by now.  You say, “Wait a minute!  No one working for the government is going to use my medical information in a way that would harm me!”  Can you honestly say that with a straight face?  That the privacy violations of this gang of eavesdroppers are sanctioned by the “state” is particularly concerning as the primary beneficiary of this information is…..the “state.”

Lew Rockwell once said that there is only one way to know for sure that something about our government is true and that is when the government issues its official denial.  That HIPPA exists to protect our medical privacy is yet another of the “state’s” many lies so many have chosen to believe.  

G. Keith Smith, M.D.

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