MEDICAL PRIVACY: Abortion Issues Stalls Records Bill
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee's compromise medical records privacy bill has hit another roadblock, and this time, abortion is the sticking point. The measure, sponsored by Sens. Jim Jeffords (R-VT) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT), originally would have voided some state medical privacy laws, while grandfathering in those with stronger patient protections. But Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) "proposed new language, which was accepted by Jeffords, spelling out more clearly" that state laws requiring parents to be notified before a minor can obtain an abortion "would remain intact." Taking issue with the change, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) said he "agrees that the state parental notification laws should remain intact," but contended that the "Brownback language goes too far." According to an aide, Kennedy believes that if a medical procedure -- mental health services, for example -- "does not require parental consent ... the minor should control access to the medical information." The HELP Committee announced yesterday that it will "postpone until June 15 the markup originally scheduled for Wednesday" while it resolves the issue and other points of contention (Morrissey, CongressDaily/A.M., 6/8).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.