Republican Pennsylvania State Senator and Gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano proposed rolling back medical privacy protections during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Friday report from the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.
The Capital-Star located several of Mastriano’s memos and press releases from 2020 — which were reportedly removed from his website — through an Internet archival resource. In one such document from March 17, 2020, Mastriano said he was concerned that “existing HIPAA regulations are threatening the lives of our citizens…” He went on:
I am concerned that existing HIPAA regulations are threatening the lives of our citizens and depriving Pennsylvania residents of knowing if – and when – they were exposed to a contagious person. This emergency measure is necessary to share vital and life-saving medical information with those who may have been subjected to this dangerous virus. The new information that would become available would help us combat the spread of the Coronavirus.
Mastriano, who has since built his brand around “personal freedom,” introduced a measure calling up the federal government to temporarily suspend HIPAA and “allow for full disclosure of details that are currently considered private, and are not disclosed to the public.” He said:
It is deeply concerning that the federal government did not proactively roll back this dangerous policy, which endangers our people. This situation changes daily – it remains my top priority to do what is in the best interest of protecting public health, and this measure will increase transparency in an effort to quell the spread of this virus.
According to the report, the March 17 release was the first-term state senator’s “first official release referencing COVID-19.”
“At the time, the state had reported just under 100 total COVID cases. [Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf] would order non-“life sustaining” businesses to shutter in two days’ time; schools had only been ordered closed until March 30, and no one had yet died of the virus,” the Capital-Star reported.
The senator followed up the interview with at least two more similar official releases, including a March 19 letter to then-President Donald Trump calling for the suspension of HIPAA.
“Existing federal law prevents the sharing of names of COVID-19 persons, and this endangers the lives of those who come in close contact with them,” the letter reads in part.
The senator also put out a release on March 26 about a bill that would get rid of state-level confidentiality protections during a disaster declaration. The statement reads:
Currently, the law allows the Health Department to keep records and reports of contagious diseases strictly confidential,” said Mastriano. “Unfortunately, the Health Department has been using this outdated law to withhold life-saving information during the ongoing pandemic. This change to the 1955 law only impacts information related to a pandemic.
“It is disheartening that neighboring states have been more transparent about potential cases,” he added.
The Capital-Star noted that many of theses statements were no longer on Mastriano’s official state website as of March 2022.
This is an excerpt from Breitbart.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.