MEDICAL PRIVACY: Attorney General May Lead Voter Initiative
If the state Legislature fails to pass a law protecting people's medical and financial records, Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) said Tuesday that he "may lead an effort to enact a strong personal privacy law," the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports. Lockyer indicated that he would spearhead a voter initiative in 2002, should lawmakers fail to produce satisfactory privacy protections by next year. "The keepers of information have become peepers and reapers of personal data," Lockyer said. State lawmakers have proposed six privacy measures in the current legislative session, although none have been approved. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states were considering a total of 135 bills earlier this year on medical, financial, Internet and other privacy matters, but very few have been enacted. NCSF policy analyst Kelly Anders said that South Dakota and Washington state have approved medical record privacy laws. And last month, the Clinton administration supported a Democratic proposal in Congress that would require consumers' consent before sharing their personal data, such as medical and insurance records (6/6). Yesterday, House Banking Committee Chair Jim Leach (R-Iowa) proposed legislation that would require financial institutions to get customers' consent before sharing their medical information with other firms. See story 12.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.