Texas is subpoenaing Planned Parenthood to get the Medicaid records of patients who donating fetal tissue. The state is trying to find out if any fraud happened (which is something Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast was caught doing in 2013). But that’s not stopping the Left from crying foul over the subpoenas and they may actually have a point. Here’s exactly what Texas is looking for:
This seems a bit much, especially when the subpoena gets into the physician orders and medical charts bit. The Fourth Amendment says people should be secure in “their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Texas subpoenas were issued without a judge’s OK and without a warrant. This seems like a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, right? But it’s completely legal based on Texas law.
Sec. 531.102. OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL. (a) The commission’s office of inspector general is responsible for the prevention, detection, audit, inspection, review, and investigation of fraud, waste, and abuse in the provision and delivery of all health and human services in the state, including services through any state-administered health or human services program that is wholly or partly federally funded, and the enforcement of state law relating to the provision of those services. The commission may obtain any information or technology necessary to enable the office to meet its responsibilities under this subchapter or other law.
So what Texas is doing is legal, but unconstitutional. So why is this happening? The answer is simple: government involvement in health care. This wouldn’t be happening at all if Medicaid (which is also unconstitutional) existed. That was put in place by the government in 1965 to take care of those who couldn’t afford health costs. The push actually started two decades before when President Harry Truman proposed a national health insurance plan to help with medical costs. Notice how the focus is on insurance? It’s important to look at the history of why health insurance became something people expected to get from their employers. A paper by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Economic Research Initiative on the Uninsured found the government’s involvement in price controls and unions appear to be main causes in the rise of health insurance.
Although employers in a few industries (notably railroad and mining) in the late 19th century provided direct health services to their employees through payroll deductions, and several other employers and labor unions provided sick benefits to their employees and members, the link between health insurance and the workplace most appropriately dates to the origins of group health insurance in the late 1920s. In 1929, what would become the nation’s first “Blue Cross” plan was formed when a group of Dallas school teachers contracted with Baylor University hospital to provide up to 21 days of inpatient care for a fixed annual payment of $6.00. The link between employment and private health insurance was strengthened during World War II when in 1943 the War Labor Board ruled that controls over wages and prices imposed by the 1942 Stabilization Act did not apply to fringe benefits such as health insurance. In response to this ruling, many employers used insurance benefits to attract and retain scarce labor. In 1948 and 1949, the National Labor Relations Board provided further impetus to workplace coverage by ruling that health insurance and other employee welfare plans were subject to collective bargaining. Finally, in a landmark 1954 ruling, the Internal Revenue Service clarified an earlier administrative court ruling regarding the income tax status of ESI by exempting such benefits from income taxation and adding this provision to the tax code.
This isn’t saying organizations shouldn’t make deals with other organizations, but it is pointing out how the government’s decision to get more involved into the personal lives of individuals caused insurance companies to get stronger. This caused the government to get more involved in health care, under the notion of “help,” instead of looking into what it may have done to cause things to get messed up in the first place. There are still plenty of people on both the Right and Left who believe some sort of safety net should exist, but it might be time to look into how rolling back said safety net would help more. The rise of cash only doctors may make it possible to start doing this on a gradual basis. If the business model started changing and more people starting going cash only, then the insurance companies would find it harder to have such “power” over prices. Doctors would be able to get back to taking care of patients, instead of waiting for reimbursement from everywhere, and it’s completely possible programs like Medicare and Medicaid wouldn’t have to exist at all. But this is going to take time and people are going to have to be patient. The federal government started this mess and it’s going to take the free market to solve it.
Texas has every right to subpoena for the records under how state law is written, but it’s still unconstitutional. Of course, so is the federal law which allows Texas to do so. It just shows what happens when the government (any government) decides to get involved in health care. If this is happening under Medicaid, imagine what might happen as Obamacare gets more of a stranglehold on the country.