MEDICAL IDs: White House To Delay Implementation
The Clinton administration intends to delay a plan to give every American a "unique health identifier" amid concerns that the IDs would jeopardize the medical privacy of individuals. Many lawmakers have expressed concern that the computer-coded identifiers "could lead to vast databases and erode the confidentiality of health records," the Washington Post reports. One administration official said, "Clearly, the administration is not going to implement this identifier until there is meaningful medical privacy legislation. We would not even consider it." The delay in implementing the IDs may be announced "as soon as tomorrow" by Vice President Al Gore in a speech on privacy-related matters. According to senior White House advisers, "Gore believes the impact of the identifiers would be too far-reaching to allow them to take effect without measures in place to protect individuals." In the speech, Gore is expected to unveil a new privacy liaison post within the Office of Management and Budget. The new position would have no regulatory power, but "would have increased responsibility for privacy issues and serve as a focal point at the federal level" (O'Harrow Jr., 7/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.