April 22,2024

Wyden Statement on Final HHS Rule to Strengthen Reproductive Health Care Privacy

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., released the following statement today on the final rule announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to modify the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule to strengthen reproductive health care privacy:

“I commend the Biden-Harris administration for pulling out all the stops to protect women and their access to health care from MAGA state officials and the extremist Supreme Court. But I fear this final rule by HHS misses the mark, failing to protect reproductive health records from warrantless law enforcement demands, as well as medical records associated with other sensitive categories of health information. It is outrageous that Americans’ medical records receive fewer protections under federal law than their emails or photos. It’s time for Congress to step in and protect Americans’ rights. As the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the HIPAA Privacy Rule, I will be exploring additional avenues to meaningfully protect Americans’ health privacy.”

In July 2023, after the initial HHS proposed rule was announced, Wyden led a group of lawmakers in urging the Administration to go further as it updated HIPAA, including that protections should apply to all protected health information, as well as requiring a warrant and patient notification when protected health information is disclosed to law enforcement.