|For Immediate Release
November 4, 1999
Act Now To Protect Your Medical Privacy
Americans Have 60 Days to Comment on Proposed
Medical Privacy Rule
Washington, D.C.-On November 3, the Clinton administration
published its proposed rule that lays the groundwork
for creating a "unique health identifier" for every
American. "The first step is to promise privacy protections.
Then the administration plans to create a unique health
identifier for each and every American," said Sue Blevins,
president of the Institute for Health Freedom.
"President Clinton is touting the new regulations,
saying they would give the American public a new 'right'
to medical privacy," states Blevins. "However, the Department
of Health and Human Services acknowledges -- in its
summary of the proposed rule -- that there is no statutory
authority for a private right of action for individuals
to enforce their privacy rights." In other words, the
public is being told they have a new right to privacy
when, in fact, they can't sue or bring a private course
of action for damages caused by a breach of confidentiality,
under the rule.
"The American public deserves honest reporting on
this very important issue," stresses Blevins. "The President
is using doublespeak and is playing politics with medical
privacy." In fact, if implemented, the proposed rule
will give many people access -- through electronic databases
-- to patients' medical information without first obtaining
The proposed rule would also permit public health
officials to collect individually identifiable information
-- including genetic information -- without consent,
if such collection is used for public health activities,
a term which is broadly defined.
The American public has 60 days to comment on the
proposed rule. The rule was published in the Federal
Register, Wednesday, November 3, 1999 (Vol. 64, No.
212, pages 59917-60066, 149 pages total). This information
can be viewed online at:
You can send comments at the following Website:
Note: The Institute for Health Freedom (IHF)
will review the regulations and publish its analysis
next week. IHF will post its comments at our Website
# # #
The public is being told they have a new right to
medical privacy when, in fact, they can't sue or
bring a private course of action for damages caused
by a breach of confidentiality, under the rule.