The Bush administration this week announced it was tossing out former president Bill Clinton’s plan for keeping medical records private, and imposing rules of its own. Bush set strict limits on the use of personal information for marketing purposes, but rolled back Clinton’s proposal to make doctors get written consent before releasing data for treatment or paying claims. Tommy Thompson, secretary of health and human services, said that requirement would have forced sick people “to run all around town signing consent forms before they could get care.” Privacy advocates said Bush’s rules, which take effect in April, will deprive patients of control over health records that insurance companies or government agencies could use against them.
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