This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider and debate the merits of H.R. 307, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013. The act would authorize the federal government to connect online with private clinics and hospitals to collect and share real-time private health information and to share the information nationally and internationally. It also authorizes the updating and enhancement of current biosurveillance activities, at a cost of more than $138 million over the next four years.
Emergency Health Powers Act
MN Health Powers Act Passes: Authorizes Health Officials to Detain Persons without a Court Order - any day, all year long
Although several citizen organizations testified multiple times against the provision, the MN Department of Health received authority to quarantine individuals and groups suspected of having a communicable or potentially communicable disease without a court order - 365 days a year.
FIRST RIGHT: The first right to go was the right of the public to testify on the proposed legislation. Rep. Richard Mulder (R-Ivanhoe), chair of the committee and author of the bill (HF 3031), began the third hearing of the Conference Committee by saying public testimony would not be taken. It had not been allowed in the first hearing, but in the second hearing, thanks to the insistence of Rep. Lynda Boudreau (R-Faribault), the public was given permission to testify.
The Minnesota Emergency Health Powers Act has faulty reasoning and constitutional concerns according to Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC), a health care policy group which provided testimony in the Senate Health and Family Security Committee today.
Closed meetings on security and emergency response procedures should not include discussions and decisions about medical procedures that impact the physical bodies of citizens, says Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC). The Civil Law Committee agreed. The amendment proposed by CCHC, and approved by the bill's author, was attached to the Minnesota House anti-terrorism bill (HF 2746).
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today released $1.1 billion and a plan to build government health surveillance systems in every state. The stated goal: to enhance public health infrastructure for bioterrorism preparedness. The plan: government access to everyone's medical record through their hospitals and doctor's offices.
Although President Bush stated that "America will lead by defending liberty and justice, because they are right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere," CCHC is concerned about a single sentence of the speech: "Knowledge gained from bioterrorism research will improve public health."
To combat bioterrorism, federal health officials have proposed that state legislators give state health officials new powers over citizens. The powers proposed in the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act would be broad and sweeping, forcing citizens to submit to physical examinations, tests, quarantine and vaccinations against their will.