The HIPAA privacy regulations emerged from a whopping giveaway of legislative
power by Congress. Congress' abandonment of its responsibility to federal
bureaucrats can only be described as scandalous.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 had a provision
called "Recommendations with Respect to Privacy of Certain Health Information."
This section asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make recommendations
to Congress about the privacy of individually identifiable health information.
Congress asked what rights people should have with regard to such information,
the procedures that should be used to enforce those rights, and the uses and
disclosures of such information that should be authorized or required.
Asking a federal agency for recommendations is acceptable, but Congress
went several steps further, telling the Secretary of HHS to go ahead and
write into law whatever the recommendations were if Congress did not act.
When Congress failed to act, unelected federal bureaucrats created these federal
privacy regulations without any further legal guidance.
The results reflect the interests of government agencies and bureaucrats as
much as they do the interests of individual Americans in privacy or health care.
Recommendations with Respect to Privacy of Certain Health Information,
Section 264 of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act of 1996 (August 21, 1996)