In response to the panic over swine flu, the Massachusetts Senate recently passed a bill (S2028) which would allow “health authorities” to forcefully quarantine ill citizens, enter homes without a warrant, urge medics to vaccinate people, and punish the people who don’t comply with the government’s regulations by making them pay $1,000/day while their noncompliance continues or be thrown into jail for 30 days. A slight overreaction, don’t you think? This thoroughly unnecessary piece of legislation is currently making its way through the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The scary thing is that it might actually pass.
One particularly disturbing section of this bill (lines 343-348) states:
“Law enforcement authorities, upon order of the commissioner or his
agent or at the request of a local public health authority pursuant to such order, shall assist emergency medical technicians or other appropriate medical personnel in the involuntary transportation of such person to the tuberculosis treatment center. No law enforcement authority or medical personnel shall be held criminally or civilly liable as a result of an act or omission carried out in good faith in reliance on said order.”
Personally, I would like to know what exactly constitutes “good faith.” This description of the health authorities’ power is just vague enough so as to allow said authorities to do whatever forceful acts they may please to keep illness from spreading. Through this loophole, they will be able to claim that they are doing these forceful acts in “good faith” and keeping the best wishes of the Massachusetts populace in mind. But we know better.
Critics of this bill believe that this could frighten ill citizens from seeking medical attention. This is a valid point. If someone is sick at home, the last thing that this person will want is a health authority busting their door down, taking them away from their home, and tossing them into quarantine. If they are too afraid to seek medical attention, they could be worsening their own condition while possibly getting other people sick.
Since when is it justifiable to let the government meddle so deeply into your private life? Makes you wonder what could happen if the government runs our entire health care system. All in the “good faith” of the American people, right?