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Security of Personal Information in a New Health Care System-Reply

Lawrence O. Gostin, JD
JAMA. 1994;271(19):1484-1485. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510430036028.
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In Reply.  —Mr Stevens expresses a generalized concern about the role of the federal government in a "nationalized medicine proposal," presumably referring to President Clinton's health system reform bill. Rather than engage in a debate over the role of government in ensuring universal access to health care, it is more appropriate to examine the central questions raised in the JAMA article—can systematic collection of information improve the quality of health care services and is it appropriate to enact federal legislation to protect informational privacy?Systematic collection of uniform data sets proposed in the American Health Security Act is intended to achieve a number of desirable outcomes for consumers. The data will be used to objectively evaluate the quality of services offered by health plans; provide better information to consumers in choosing health plans; conduct health services, biomedical, and epidemiological research; prevent fraud and abuse; and track the spread of disease


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