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Senate Amendment to Stop National Healthcare ID Proposal

September 11, 1998

"A plan to assign every American a lifetime health-care ID number, similar to a Social Security number, could face new limits under a measure headed for Senate debate," reports Cassandra Burrell, an Associated Press writer. "A provision introduced Thursday [September 3, 1998] by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, would prohibit the Health and Human Services Department from going forward with the plan until Congress approves its specifics," writes Burrell.

Senator Hutchison offered an amendment prohibiting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from implementing its national health-care ID system. The amendment was incorporated into the Senate's 1999 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill. An identical measure has already passed the House of Representatives.

"I have serious reservations about issuing everyone in America a national health ID card," Senator Hutchison said. "The plan, as HHS intended to carry it forward, raises questions of excessive government involvement and control -- not to mention privacy concerns."

"There is no way that Americans' privacy would be protected in one of the most sensitive, intensely personal aspects of life," she said. "We don't want the government to go there."

Sources: Press Release, Office of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, September 3, 1998. Washington Post, "Senate Mulls Healthcare ID Proposal," by Associated Press Writer Cassandra Burrell, September 4, 1998.