The federal government may soon be able to access personal medical data about you without your permission.
Health Information Privacy Act (HIPAA) allows companies to share personal medical information with third parties to provide medical advice, help customers shop for health insurance or enroll in Medicare, among other things.
Companies will be able use the information for these purposes if the companies certify that they have a legitimate medical need and comply with HIPAA’s nondisclosure provisions.
The House passed the legislation in a 242-194 vote, with Republicans voting against the legislation and Democrats voting for it.
But the Senate is currently considering the bill and has not yet acted on it.
The bill was authored by Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Rep. David Schweikert (R/Tuckahoe).
The House voted 219-212 on Thursday, and the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 38-31.
It is expected to pass both chambers in the coming days.
The HIPAA legislation would apply to companies that have been authorized by the federal government to collect information from the government.
It would require companies to submit annual reports that would identify all the medical information they have collected from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for each year.
The data would be used for health care, life insurance, job training, and prescription drugs.
Companies must disclose the information to any government agency or governmental entity.
Companies must also give people at least two months’ notice of their right to opt out.
The HIPAA bill also gives individuals the right to request the removal of personal health information.
That could include information about people like the names of relatives or friends.