Bill Description: Senate Bill 1346 imposes limits on the fees medical providers may charge patients who request their medical records.
Amendment Analysis: An amendment to this bill allows constituents to specify whether they would like records delivered in digital or physical form. However, these are nonbinding requests to the healthcare provider. This new provision in SB 1346 does not affect rating or the analysis.
Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market?
Senate Bill 1346 creates a new section, Chapter 97, Title 39 of Idaho Code to regulate how health care providers may charge for providing medical records to patients who request them. Presently, no regulations address the fees providers might charge. Restricting a private medical practice’s ability to tailor fees for providing records interferes with its ability to operate in a way that meets its needs.
The limits imposed in this bill work to force businesses to further the government’s agenda for forcing providers to adopt paperless methods of distributing information. Supporting paperless records is not a bad thing, in itself. The issue is that the government is making the decision for businesses and strongarming them into compliance. This is a clear attempt to further government regulation on the free market.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the United States Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
The current legal understanding in the United State is that patients own their medical information, but health care providers own the physical records. Therefore, a provider may not withhold medical information from a patient but may charge reasonable fees for handing over the records, being that they are copying their own property to give to someone else.
One argument in favor of SB 1346 is that it limits one barrier patients may face when obtaining their medical information and by extension, it protects their access to their personal property. But this argument fails since this bill would deprive health care providers of the ability to assess costs associated with managing their property — the physical medical records. In this case, the government would be serving the rights of one group at the cost of another.
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