Thursday, June 09, 2005

Bush's Latest Crime Against The American People...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department has decided that most health care employees can't be prosecuted for stealing personal data under a privacy law intended to protect medical information.

The ruling could jeopardize the lone conviction obtained under medical privacy rules that took effect in 2003 and could stop federal prosecutors from pursuing some of the more than 13,000 complaints that have been filed alleging violations of those rules.

The health care industry has long sought to limit the effect of the rules and the 1996 privacy law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, on which they are based, although officials at several industry trade groups said Tuesday they did not lobby the Justice Department on this topic.

Hospitals, insurers, doctors and other health care providers that bill for their services are subject to criminal prosecution under the law, according to the June 1 memo signed by Steven G. Bradbury, the Justice lawyer who heads the office of legal counsel.

But a hospital clerk, for example, and other employees cannot face criminal penalties because the law doesn't apply to them, Bradbury wrote.

The memo was the subject of extensive internal debate within the Bush administration, with at least one federal prosecutor voicing opposition to its conclusion.

''As prosecutors in the field, we're disappointed with the opinion,'' said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney John McKay in Seattle.

Last August, McKay's office obtained a guilty plea from a technician at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Richard W. Gibson was sentenced to 16 months in prison after admitting that he stole the identity of a cancer patient and used the information to obtain credit cards in the patient's name. Gibson bought $9,100 worth of jewelry, video games and a barbecue grill using the cards.

This issue has been bantered about in the White House with only one voice opposing? The case of Mr. Gibson mentioned above is a good example of what will not happen next time a clerk or other staff member commits identity theft or fraud such as this. Gibson could still withdraw his plea and has the possibility to walk away from any charges after this ruling was made. It is something the Health Care Industry has been pushing for a long time.

What the Bush administration has done in this instance is to exempt many people who have access to a person's medical information, which includes social security numbers, etc. from having to face prosecution in the event they steal identities or commit fraud on or against a patient.

Isn't it nice...the Bush administration sides again with big companies and gives them carte blanche to screw the American people yet again, in a way that could land them with endless bills, no way to pay for them and miles of red tape that still will not make the crook pay for their crimes.

Add another crime perpetrated on the American People by George Bush.


At 4:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 7:12 AM, Blogger Myst said...

Spam is still deleted...


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