Everyone at some point realizes that adults aren’t automatically smart. The same goes for politicians. In fact, they often claim to know things they know nothing about. There were two good examples of this on Tuesday. One came when an exasperated Dr. Anthony Fauci schooled Senator Rand Paul, who he told him point blank, about the Wuhan “lab leak” conspiracy theory, “you don’t know what you’re talking about.” The other, no surprise, came from Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Hot off being banned for 12 hours from tweeting due to COVID-19 misinformation, the controversial representative walked into it again. During a press conference, a journalist asked Greene — whose attempt to appeal a $500 fine, issued for not wearing a mask in the House back in May, was met with failure — the million dollar question: Is she, in fact, vaccinated. She pleaded the 5th, sort of, claiming that was a “a violation of my HIPAA rights.”
Question: Have you yourself been vaccinated?
Greene: Your first question is a violation of my HIPAA rights pic.twitter.com/JuHDovV2mC
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 20, 2021
Greene was referring to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects personal information acquired by health officials, such as doctors, from fraud and theft. This poses another question: Does someone, such as a journalist or a potential employer or even the staff at a movie theater, asking about one’s vaccination status violate the HIPAA?
It does not.
Plenty of articles have been published in the last handful of months as vaccine skeptics have tried to float this idea. Here’s one, from no less a source than the HIPAA Journal. All have reached the same conclusion: HIPAA does not protect one from revealing whether or not one is a health threat, including for the highly contagious and transmissible COVID-19. The closest such a question would come to an HIPAA violation is if someone asked her doctor to reveal her status, which is not what happened at this presser.
Some broke down how it really works.
That's not at all how HIPAA works. I can ask you all day long if you're vaccinated, and you can tell me or not. Now if you ask my doctor and HE tells you, that's a violation. Source: I work with PHI all day long. https://t.co/f8IoNGMedO
— It's James and the Awful Truth (@TweetFiction) July 20, 2021
Imagine if the law was that you aren’t allowed to ask someone about their own health? Or answer questions about your own health? That would be insane. Good thing that’s not what HIPAA means. https://t.co/cZuNO2hjAY
— Olivia Messer 🌊 (@OliviaMesser) July 20, 2021
CNN’s crack fact checker Daniel Dale pointed out Greene has done this on multiple occasions yet always seems to miss, somehow, when she’s been debunked.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) July 20, 2021
Others simply roasted her for the confidence with which she revealed she has no idea what she’s talking about.
when you’ve been vaccinated and don’t know what hipaa is https://t.co/NGKXwvg7rR
— my pal andy™ (@andylevy) July 20, 2021
Asking someone if they’re vaccinated does not violate their HIPAA rights lmao. Where does she come up with this stuff https://t.co/zrwFz5sMTs
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) July 20, 2021
These people have no clue what HIPAA is https://t.co/95sQxvEKyh
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) July 20, 2021
HIPAA does not apply to journalists — it applies to entities covered by the statute, like health care plans. https://t.co/I5oYTGhR5X
— Jan Wolfe (@JanNWolfe) July 20, 2021
As someone who had to take yearly tests on HIPAA rights while working at a hospital for 12 years, I can tell all of y'all that this is in fact NOT a violation of Marge's HIPAA rights.
Let's elect leaders that at least know some basics on how things in the real world work. https://t.co/B0t7yRBtL0
— Russell Foster for Texas (@RussellFosterTX) July 20, 2021
That. Is. Not. How. HIPAA. Works. https://t.co/Nr70Il8euO
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) July 20, 2021
Greene has no idea what HIPAA means and she's absolutely incorrect. https://t.co/3lk6KnasQ5
— Dr. Jack Brown (@DrGJackBrown) July 20, 2021
This is not a violation of HIPAA, which only applies to doctors, nurses, hospitals/clinics, pharmacies, health insurance, etc. Greene doesn't have to answer, but to use the claim that asking the question is a violation of HIPAA as an excuse reveals the depths of her ignorance. https://t.co/gixXybwJT0
— David Gorski, MD, PhD (@gorskon) July 20, 2021
News flash: Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn’t understand HIPAA. https://t.co/wVNgA8zPgm
— Miranda Yaver, PhD (@mirandayaver) July 20, 2021
There are two rights people think they understand what they mean, but don’t:
1. First Amendment
When those people are actual elected officials, you know we are in trouble https://t.co/osM3uQZGkD
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) July 20, 2021
“Hey, how are you doing?”
“You just violated my HIPAA rights you bastard” https://t.co/LWEViW65cJ
— The Give Smart Guy (it's back!) (@BobbyBigWheel) July 20, 2021
Others read this as a possible confession that, yes, she has been vaccinated, which would appall her base.
Narrator: Yes, Marjorie Taylor Greene has been vaccinated. https://t.co/SM6P51ENss
— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) July 20, 2021
Marjorie Taylor Greene is almost certainly vaccinated but doesn’t want to say so because it has become taboo among Trumpists, which is so incredibly damning on both ends.
Also, that’s *definitely* not what HIPAA is. https://t.co/wPihQ69ASS
— Caroline Orr Bueno, Ph.D (@RVAwonk) July 20, 2021
Also, it’s not a violation of her HIPAA rights. https://t.co/4fB0CM99TK
— Mueller, She Wrote (@MuellerSheWrote) July 20, 2021
Greene’s vaccine stubbornness comes at a particularly awkward time for her party. A number of prominent conservatives, noticing the fact that the vast majority of new cases and deaths are among the unvaccinated, have had an about-face, and are now imploring their viewers to get dosed already. That even Sean Hannity is doing more to save people than Marjorie Taylor Greene really does say something.