NewsMax.com has become aware of a document titled "Colorado Action Alert: Update 4-19-01. Immunization Tracking and Medical Privacy.”
The memo by Cindy Loveland, state volunteer for the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), tells of a hearing scheduled for today by a Colorado House panel to consider Senate Bill 61.
As NVIC describes it, the bill gives the state board of health the authority to implement and operate a comprehensive immunization tracking system.
The law also would require health plans, health care clearing houses and providers to develop policies, procedures and systems to comply with the federal "privacy” regulations.
Actually, there’s a bit of an uproar there in Denver because the committee chairman, Republican Rep. Mark Paschall, who does not favor the measure, used his legislative skill to kill the Senate-passed measure (for the time being anyway) in what apparently was an unadvertised committee meeting Monday.
Sponsors of the measure are angry at this end-run around their bill, and not surprisingly are set to do battle at today’s committee meeting which, at last check, was still scheduled.
Paschall, who apparently takes no prisoners, told the Rocky Mountain News: "They can say what they want about me. It wouldn’t be the first time.” Besides, he added, he knew the other side was mapping strategy to use the rules to see that the measure is passed. So apparently, it’s a case of the other side being outraged that Paschall beat them to the draw.
Here are some of the arguments NVIC makes against S.B. 61.
Thus the stage is set for an interesting battle before Colorado’s House Committee on Information and Technology.
Would that more of such robust out-in the-open debate on this very issue would take place in the halls of Congress here in Washington.
Is this sort of legislation being proposed in your state?
As Congress reconvenes for its post-Easter session, the small contingent of lawmakers taking an active interest in privacy issues will try to focus public attention on the medical privacy question.
It was on April 12, three days before Easter, during the relative "calm before the storm” in this city, that the Department of Health and Human Services, at the prodding of President Bush, released its approval of the 1,500-page medical "privacy” regulation that had been formulated during the Clinton administration. Reportedly, the president overruled HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, who wanted to make some changes first.
It is reasonable to expect that lawmakers who think the term "privacy” is a misnomer as applied to the HHS-approved regulation are going to be heard on this. They may have to fight off being drowned out with the media attention on China, the budget and tax-cut fights, and the president’s proposal to drill for oil in Alaska. But the small groups of congressmen who are tracking this are not losing their focus.
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