[ Friday, August 01, 2003 ]


Sorry for the light blogging, but I'm actually on vacation in Florida. No, not Disneyland -- it is a personal goal of mine, one which I fully acknowledge is likely unattainable, to never visit Disneyland. I'd rather pay for someone else to take my kids. Don't e-mail me that if I went I'd change my tune; I've heard that plenty, and don't think it's true. Anyway, if you're looking for a good place to stay in Naples, Florida, you can't go too wrong with where we are now, the Edgewater Beach Hotel and Club. Of course, if money is no object, try the Ritz Carlton, especially the beach resort (there's a second Ritz, the golf resort, with a truly challenging (I proudly tamed it with a 97) Greg Norman course). And I highly recommend Campiello's restaurant.

Anyway, there is news to post: the South Carolina HIPAA challenge has been appealed to the US Supreme Court. As you might recall, there is a Houston challenge and a South Carolina challenge, both in Federal courts, each with a different argument why HIPAA shouldn't be enforced. The Houston case centers its challenge over the fact that HIPAA actually gives the government, through HHS, the right to see anybody's medical record; covered entities must turn over any PHI that HHS asks for. The South Carolina case is a more interesting legal issue: the plaintiffs claim that HHS overstepped its authority in drafting the HIPAA regulations. Laws must be passed by Congress; the administrative agencies like HHS can enact regulations that tweak or fine-tune the law, but they can't draft actual law. The complaint in the South Carolina case is that what HHS did in the regulations was not tweaking or fine-tuning, but was the actual drafting of law. That would violate the US Constitution.

Both the Houston and South Carolina challenges lost in the US District courts as well at the US Circuit Courts of Appeal. If I recall my federal procedure (and I don't, really), the appeal to the US Supreme Court in the South Carolina case will have to be dealt with, even if by a simple affirmation of the lower court rulings, since it involves a federal question. I don't know about the Houston case, though.

Jeff [7:58 AM]

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