Big Brother Eyes Health Records?

The use of scare tactics to undermine health reform continues. Fox News suggested this week that efforts to expand the use of electronic medical records raise concerns "about government access to Americans' medical history ... and what the government will do once it has access to Americans' medical history."

The use of scare tactics to undermine health reform continues. Fox News suggested this week that efforts to expand the use of electronic medical records raise concerns "about government access to Americans' medical history ... and what the government will do once it has access to Americans' medical history."

Adhering to its "fair and balanced" credo, Fox buttressed its claim by citing an opinion piece, Your Medical Records Aren't Secure, published in the Wall Street Journal. Fox News and WSJ are owned by News Corporation.

Concerns about privacy are valid, but the report failed to mention that the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes the most significant changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act's privacy and security rules since the law's enactment in 1996. Those tough new standards, collectively known as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, require more fastidious accounting of health data and demand greater accountability from individuals and organizations that handle, use or transmit electronically stored personal health information.

At the time, privacy activists championed the new requirements as a boon to the security of electronic health data.