Privacy concerns (editorial)

Today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal has an editorial about calls for increasing the penalties under HIPAA for snooping in files:


In the wake of the UCLA scandal, some now want to increase punishments for violating institutions, provide penalties for individual snoopers and force providers to obtain explicit instructions from patients and their families on exactly who can have access to their records.

As if this burdensome law hasn’t piled enough new costs on the health care industry — and patients — already.

No amount of regulatory rigmarole will stop some people from being nosy. Those who use their snooping to commit fraud and identity theft can be prosecuted under those criminal statutes.

HIPAA’s privacy provisions serve no real purpose other than to score points for politicians and make voters feel better about the glut of personal information available in dozens of computer networks, manila folders and Web sites. Millions of Americans think nothing of posting their photos and thoughts on a page, using credit cards that allow businesses to track their spending habits, and carrying a cell phone that keeps track of their exact location. But the prospect of a nameless health insurance clerk 900 miles away chuckling over the fact that they take Viagra? The horror!

HIPAA is already a bureaucratic nightmare. There’s no need to expand the law’s privacy penalties.

Read the whole editorial at Las Vegas Review-Journal

About the author: Dissent

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