H.R. 6666, the COVID-19 Testing, Reaching and Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act, was introduced on May 1, 2020 by US Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL). The bill — which has far-reaching implications to health freedom rights — authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the CDC, to give $100 billion annually “to eligible entities” to employ, train and deploy a vast nationwide network of COVID-19 testing and contact tracers for as long as the emergency period continues.
H.R. 6666 allows for surveillance measures via “tracing and monitoring the contacts of infected individuals” as well as the quarantine of such contacts. These initiatives will be supported via mobile health units and, as necessary, by deploying workers to individuals’ homes. The activities are not only intrusive, they violate men and women’s inalienable rights to bodily autonomy, informed consent, privacy, and freedom from unwanted individuals in their home.
Contact tracing is a basic tenet of epidemiology that is supposed to mitigate the risk of disease spread by identifying carriers and stopping their further contact with people. However, the concept of surveillance — particularly surveillance that is done in people’s homes without their consent — comes at a high cost, including the loss of privacy and the ability to opt out of unwanted medical testing and procedures. It creates the potential for highly invasive surveillance and control over individuals without their permission under the guise of “protecting public health.”
TRACE is also problematic in that it uses broad, open-ended language to define the role of its vast new workforce of COVID-19 testers, contact tracers and quarantine workers. It does not define what “related activities” or “for other purposes” are, opening the doors wide for corruption. Lastly, although the bill identifies eligible entities that can carry out surveillance measures (school health clinics, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and others), the bill fails to specify eligibility criteria, making it easy to hand over testing and tracing contracts to virtually any organization.
When laws like H.R. 6666 are vaguely worded, government officials can choose when and how to enforce their own interpretations of the law. Vagueness wields undue power, enabling decisions to be made with unfair and discriminatory motives that will ultimately be at the expense of some individuals in order to protect others. We cannot sacrifice the rights of individuals in the name of serving the greater good. When enough individuals suffer, so does the whole.
It’s time to take a stand. Since COVID-19 was declared a national emergency on March 13, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in how we conduct our daily lives and how we are supposed to view others around us. Restrictions have been imposed on how we interact with our friends, families and neighbors; how we are able to make a living; how we conduct business; how we are permitted to worship; and even which healthcare measures we can pursue. H.R. 6666 lays the foundation for a medical police state that gives unlimited power to government agencies and the industries with which they partner. Although there’s no language in the bill that specifically forces individuals to comply with testing, tracing and quarantine measures, there are no mechanisms that allow individuals to opt out or that protect their privacy rights.
During times of an emergency, health freedom and constitutional rights don’t stop being important; they become more important. Please email your US senators and representatives NOW and urge them to oppose H.R. 6666. Then please share this important campaign with your friends and family and ask them to stand for health freedom. At this juncture, the goal is to show your elected officials how many people say NO to this forced citizen surveillance bill.