Of course, it was easy to find the “No On 46” info because it was connected to their Facebook Page. If you go to NoOn46.com, you can easily navigate their site to “Get the Facts,” see what’s “In the News,” and find ways to “Take Action.”
My eyes were drawn immediately to “Threats to Personal Privacy,” which can be found here, under Get the Facts. Being that I work in high tech, I am constantly questioning how my use of tech devices, social media, and cellular technology impacts my right to privacy...it's often a question that our customers ask and so it is an answer that I grapple with daily.
I wanted to begin with a fair investigation. So, instead of presenting the information I found on No On 46's website, I will share the info I have discovered on the State of California's Department of Justice website (here):
The Department of Justice (DOJ) limits access and dissemination of this information to licensed prescribers, licensed pharmacists, law enforcement personnel, and regulatory board personnel strictly for patient care or official investigatory/regulatory purposes.
This sounds great, right? It even goes on to say, hey, we have to follow HIPPA regulations. However, a deeper dive into Lewis v The Superior Court of the State of California, we can see that, we, as patients,
...do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their prescription records vis-a-vis the Board's limited data in CURES, and such access does not amount to conduct constituting a serious invasion of privacy...
the government may see and use information covered by the right to privacy if it can show that its use of the information would advance a legitimate state interest... [use of bold is mine]
So what does this mean? The CURES database even as it exists today does not protect our information from being used by the Department of Justice or any branch of the government for that matter despite our assumption that our medical information is protected by HIPPA.
We have a diminished expectation of privacy. Because of CURES.
CURES is currently a voluntary database, of which a small group of doctors are using. It is voluntary for doctors to use it EVEN after January 1, 2016, once they are all required to register to use it (this was enacted last year in Senate Bill 809).
Why would I agree to this mandatory reporting?
The ballot measure contains no provisions and no funding to upgrade the database with increased security standards to protect personal prescription information from government intrusion, hacking, theft or improper access by non-medical professionals.Am I saying that this is not a worth while venture? Am I a vicious liberal who is putting my own privacy above the value of the lives of those lost because of doctor shopping and a lack of accountability for how to dispense addictive drugs to patients?
No. What I am saying is there has to be a thoughtful conversation about a law that can do just that-- add accountability-- while protecting the general population. We cannot remove our doctors' ability to practice discretion. We cannot remove our doctors' ability to exercise compassion. We cannot allow mandatory reporting of medical information that can be used at the discretion of the state for ANY STATE INTEREST. We cannot use our fear of pill popping drug addicts to drive our desire for fair laws.
I have discovered through my investigation that there are many other reasons why Prop 46 is not the right way to enact the laws and protection that we crave.
But this? The threat to our privacy? Is what has motivated me to share my perspective on why I'm No On 46.