Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Matthew T. Bodie (Saint Louis University), HIPPA, Cardozo L. Rev. (forthcoming 2022):
HIPPA does not exist. The real acronym for the 1996 Health Information Portability and Accountability Act is HIPAA—“privacy” is not even in the title. But many have invoked "HIPPA" in seeking to keep their personal health decisions private and autonomous. No doubt a complicated statutory and regulatory regime, HIPAA's scope is much narrower than the average person understands, applying mainly to health care providers and insurers. But its complexity does not explain the widespread and erroneous expectation that federal law will shield those who want to keep their health information, like vaccination status, to themselves. Asserting a right to confidentiality under HIPPA demonstrates a failure to understand the interconnected nature of public health, looking instead to claim an inviolable shield. But those who mock the "HIPPA" invokers fail to appreciate the real costs to health privacy and personal autonomy that the pandemic has engendered. All sides should approach these questions from a perspective of compromise and understanding—not as a conflict of unassailable rights.