URGENT ACTION ITEM! Last chance for medical privacy

by na Friday, Jun. 15, 2001 at 2:41 AM

Last chance for medical privacy!!June 13, 2001 Only three days left to kill Federal anti-privacy regulation

June 13, 2001


Only three days left to kill

Federal anti-privacy regulation

Dear Friends:

We have an urgent request: Please pick up the

phone and call Congress today, or the fight for medical

privacy could be lost. That is because the Health and

Human Services regulation that turns your medical data

over to the government will go into effect permanently --

unless Congress passes HJR 38 by Friday, June 15.

Please read this short memo, immediately take the

action at the bottom, then forward it to others who might

be interested.


On April 14, President Bush quietly directed

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson to

impose the so-called "medical privacy regulations" that

were originally developed by the Clinton administration.

Bush's maneuver came despite the fact that the HHS had

been inundated with nearly 100,000 angry letters and

e-mails from Americans around the country.

The most dangerous aspect of this regulation --

and the one most overlooked in news reports -- is that

for the first time the government, rather than patients

and doctors, would be in complete control of your

private medical records. That's because the regulation

forces doctors and hospitals to share all electronic

medical records with the government for a variety of

vague purposes, such as to "streamline medical billing

procedures" or for "public health surveillance." Then the

government, rather than individual patients, will decide

who gets to see them.

No wonder Americans are so worried. This

regulation, which was published in the Federal Register

on December 28, 2000, would:

* Give dozens of government agencies and thousands

of bureaucrats access to your medical records --

including the private notes of a psychotherapist

-- without your consent.

* Let government agencies share your records with

marketing companies. The rules specifically allow

pharmacies to share prescription records "for the

purpose of marketing health-related products and

services" without your consent.

* Do nothing to prevent the government from

accessing your DNA information and transferring

it to "third parties."

* Permit police agencies to access medical records

without a search warrant.

* Allow private insurance companies to compile the

medical information into a database.

* Prevent patients involved in health research

projects from accessing their own medical records

in some cases.

How would you like a prospective employer to know

that you have a "genetic predisposition" to contract a serious,

and expensive, illness?

What if an acquaintance who worked for an insurance

company or government agency could read the private notes of

your psychotherapist, or find out if you have ever undergone

drug or alcohol treatment?

Would you want others to know whether you've had an

abortion or been treated for an embarrassing disease?

All of those things could happen if this

Clinton-Bush regulation is allowed to stand.

That's why it's so important to pick up the phone

and call your U.S. representative today. If we can't get

Congress to vote on HJR 38 by Friday, you can kiss your

medical privacy goodbye!


Call your U.S. House representative immediately at

202-225-3121 or 202-224-3121 to request an immediate vote on

House Joint Resolution 38 (HJR 38). This measure, sponsored

by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, declares that the HHS

regulation "shall have no force or effect."


(1) Identify yourself and let them know you are a

voter in their district. Leave your name, address, complete

with ZIP code, and phone number. Please be brief, especially

if you are leaving a message.

(2) Ask them to tell House Speaker Dennis Hastert to

schedule an immediate vote on HJR 38. Let them know that this

measure must pass Congress by Friday -- or the HHS rules will

remain in effect.

(3) Ask them to vote *YES* on HJR 38. Then ask for a

letter confirming their position.

Is there anything else you can do? Yes! Please

forward this E-mail to a friend, and ask them to call their

representative as well.

Thank you for your help!


Steve Dasbach

National Director

Libertarian Party

Original: URGENT ACTION ITEM! Last chance for medical privacy