These new standards could serve as the backbone of a cradle-to-grave medical record
on each and every American.
Denise Nagel, MD
President, National Coalition for Patient Rights
In this essay, I propose to 'tour' the subject of privacy in our civilization, its importance and its pending destruction: Why does privacy matter? What should we expect from its destruction? Finally, does privacy in medical matters have a special significance? I will draw the conclusions that privacy is an extension of property rights; that respect for privacy, a bourgeois concept, is inherent in the success of our civilization and necessary for a thriving middle class. A thriving middle class represents the essence of Western civilization.
On Oct. 29, 1999, President Clinton announced U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna E. Shalala's proposed rules which claim to protect the privacy of Americans' personal health records that are either transmitted or maintained electronically. These rules were published in the Federal Register on November 3.
Medical Savings Account Availability Act
On April 4, 2001, Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) and Rep. William Lipinski (D-IL) introduced legislation to expand the eligibility for MSAs to more Americans and to make MSAs permanent.
"Summary of the Medical Savings Account Availability Act:
The most "heavy-handed" aspect of the new federal rules is the unprecedented government access to everyone's private medical records. ("Bogus scare tactics delay medical-privacy reforms," Debate, 3/20/01). While masquerading as patient protection, the rules would actually eliminate any last shred of patient confidentiality.
Americans have lost a bit more of their right to privacy --- and a little more of the freedom that goes along with it.
On April 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will be implementing the so-called medical privacy regulations which were written and hurriedly submitted in the closing days of the Clinton administration.
Outrage over the latest proposed modification to the federal medical privacy rule is misdirected and political.