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Update on Unique
Health Identifiers (UHIs)

December 11, 2004

For the past several years, Congress has temporarily prohibited the government from spending money to assign citizens unique health identifiers (UHIs) to track their health information. This year's Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (H.R. 5006) continues that moratorium.

The moratoriums have bought valuable time, but they are not enough to protect people's medical privacy. To make sure citizens' health information is not tracked without their permission, two important changes would have to occur:

(1) The section of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 that requires UHIs would have to be repealed; and

(2) Congress would have to fix the federal medical privacy rule to restore the requirement for patient consent, thus giving individuals the final say over who has access to their personal health information.

Note: You can get an update on H.R. 5006 by visiting the Congressional Web site http://thomas.loc.gov and searching for bill number "HR 5006".

This article was originally published in the September/October 2004 issue of Health Freedom Watch, the bimonthly watchdog report published by the Institute for Health Freedom.

 
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