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Bolstering Patient Privacy: Biden Administration's Proposed Regulations and Their Implications

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Ethan Sulliva
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Bolstering Patient Privacy: Biden Administration's Proposed Regulations and Their Implications

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Biden Administration's New Regulations for Patient Privacy

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In a bid to enhance patient privacy and address concerns about the impact of data sharing systems on reproductive health, the Biden Administration is proposing new regulations. The aim is to ensure that health care providers can easily segment and protect specific information from being disclosed when requested by patients. This move comes in the wake of increased data breaches and ransomware attacks, which have prompted the proposal of financial programs to incentivize healthcare entities to implement cybersecurity practices. The move also aligns with several states implementing advance notice requirements for health care transactions. However, these could potentially lead to transaction delays or confidential information becoming accessible to the public.

Pushback from Healthcare and Technology Giants

While privacy advocates, healthcare providers, and organizations are lauding these regulations, tech giants like UnitedHealth Group and Epic are expressing concerns. They believe that these proposed rules could impose practical limitations on data sharing. As a result, they are urging the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to reconsider the proposed regulations. The ONC is currently evaluating these petitions.

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Increasing Competition in Healthcare

The Biden-Harris Administration is also taking steps to promote competition in healthcare and support lowering prescription drug costs for American families. These efforts are directed towards counteracting the power and practices of big healthcare companies. The statistics are telling - over 75% of Americans live in highly concentrated hospital markets, and just three or fewer issuers of individual health insurance control 80% of the market in 44 states.

New Measures to Lower Healthcare Costs

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The Administration recently announced five new measures that seek to lower healthcare costs by promoting competition. The Commerce and Health and Human Services departments have released a proposed framework for agencies concerning the exercise of march-in rights. These rights enable the federal government to license drugs or inventions backed by taxpayer funds to other parties if the invention is not made accessible to the public.

Addressing High Drug Prices

Furthermore, the Biden Administration is asserting its authority to seize the patents of certain costly medications in a new push to slash high drug prices and promote more pharmaceutical competition. A framework has been unveiled outlining the factors federal agencies should consider in deciding whether to use a controversial policy, known as march in rights, to break the patents of drugs that were developed with federal funds but are not widely accessible to the public.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while the proposed regulations are a step in the right direction for ensuring patient privacy and promoting competition in healthcare, they also raise important questions about practicality and the limitations of data sharing. It remains crucial for the ONC and other stakeholders to strike a balance between protecting patient privacy and promoting transparency and competition in healthcare.

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