The IRS Accused in Health Record Theft

Keeping records can be dangerous, especially if those records may be of interest to the state. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is being accused of stealing the medial records of some 10 million Americans:

The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.

According to a report by, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.

I doubt this news surprised anybody since the primary job of the IRS is to steal from Americans. Usually they steal wealth but I can see the reason the state would be interested in medical records now that it has further put itself into a position to foot medical bills. What this case does demonstrate is the danger of holding records that the state may find of interest. If the state can’t access records legally it can do it illegally since it both makes the laws and enforces them. One of the state’s favorite laws is making its agents immune from legal repercussions of illegal acts performed on the job. If the plaintiff wins this lawsuit the IRS agents who were responsible for the theft will go unpunished. Instead the IRS will merely take some of the money it has stolen from the general population and give it to the plaintiffs. Even when the state rules that is has done something illegal the people are the ones who end up paying.