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Home > Past Releases and Reports > HIPAA's Gamble with Health Privacy was a Losing Bet

For Immediate Release
April 14, 2003

Contact: Jim Harper

(202) 546-3701

Privacilla Report: HIPAA's Gamble with Health Privacy was a Losing Bet

New Study Finds that Troubled Process Caused Troubling Results in Federal 'Privacy' Regulation

Washington, D.C. issued a substantial report assessing federal regulations that are going into effect today. The report, called "The HIPPA Privacy Regulation Troubled Process, Troubling Results," finds that the new regulations take aim at a wide variety of information policies, but fail to deliver health privacy for American patients.

Selected quotes from the report follow:

"Congress and HHS did not do their homework before embarking on this health privacy excursion. More political gamesmanship than policymaking went into the privacy provisions of the HIPAA law."

"Before the HIPAA privacy regulation, a web of ethics, incentives, and laws protected privacy. None alone was sufficient, but combined they were substantial. They were far too quickly dismissed in the HIPAA process, and their survival after HIPAA is in some doubt. HIPAA largely replaced a flexible web of privacy protections with a singular, breakable federal regulation."

"More weaknesses in the HIPAA privacy regulation will surface as doctors, hospitals, and health systems try to implement all its provisions. Already, it is clear that the regulations have failed in an important respect: there is no sense in the land that the privacy of health information is any greater after HIPAA than before it. The promise of the HIPAA privacy regulation is not being delivered."

Copies of the report are on the Privacilla Web site at (pdf format) (Large file! Recommended: right-click and save as local file before opening.) and (html format). ( is an innovative Web site that captures "privacy" as a public policy issue. Privacilla has been described as a "privacy policy portal" and an "online think-tank."


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