Carstens: Gun control executive order goes against HIPPA

Courtney Carstens

As American citizens, we had great relief knowing that none of our personal health care information could be given away without our consent under the Health Information Portability and Privacy Act, or HIPPA. The key word in that sentence is had. This was the case before President Obama enacted his gun control policy through executive order on Jan. 5.

Through this executive order, Obama wishes for lists of people who have a mental illness to be released.

These lists are clear violation of HIPPA if those mentioned patients do not wish to give up that piece of information with their names attached to it. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, You can ask that your health information not be shared with certain people, groups or companies. If you go to a clinic, for example, you can ask the doctor not to share your medical records with other doctors or nurses at the clinic. You can ask for other kinds of restrictions, but they do not always have to agree to do what you ask, particularly if it could affect your care …”  

If this comment does not prove that Obama’s executive order goes against laws that are meant to protect our citizens, I don’t know what would. Furthermore, if the leader of our country, the one who is supposed to be the lead enforcer of our laws, cannot follow the laws that his predecessors made then how are we as citizens expected to follow the laws that he creates? Those who govern should be expected to uphold the laws that they put upon the governed.

Our policy makers can’t be given the easy way out.

If you choose not to tell the government that you have a mental illness of any kind, that means it is none of their business. The laws that they created say that. If the patient has been identified as having a mental problem then that means they more than likely have gone to a healthcare facility to address their issues.

We need to be more worried about those who are not going to a health clinic to address their problems. Those people could cause more harm to society than those who would be put on the list. While I understand that because the past year was full of many killings, people are willing to blame the guns.

We need to understand something as a country, guns are not the problem — the people using them are.

However, blatantly violating a protective law that was put into effect decades ago to protect those suffering from mental health disorders is not the way to take care of this mounting issue.

This isn’t only an action that goes against another law but if this law goes into effect, we will be singling out a specific group of people and we can’t stand for that. If we violate this the law now, what will prevent another law being made down the line to discriminate against a race or those of differing sexual orientation? It won’t be prevented because we will have set a precedent for laws to come.

Governments have a duty to its citizens to protect them, which is what this executive order is trying to do. While at the same time it is violating another law that has been in place for a couple of decades. Not only is this gun control executive order violating a law but it is also discriminating against a single group.