Senate Bill 1346 – Fixing Medical Records Fees
Description of the invoice: Senate Bill 1346 places limits on the fees that medical providers can charge patients who request their medical records.
Does it give the government new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate free market activity?
Senate Bill 1346 creates a new section, Chapter 97, Title 39 of the Idaho Code to regulate how health care providers may charge for providing medical records to patients who request them. Currently, there are no regulations addressing the fees that providers might charge. Restricting a private medical practice’s ability to adjust fees for providing records interferes with its ability to operate in a manner that meets its needs.
The limits imposed in this bill force companies to advance the government’s agenda to force suppliers to adopt paperless methods of disseminating information. Supporting paperless records is not a bad thing in and of itself. The problem is that the government makes the decision for businesses and forces them to comply. This is a clear attempt to strengthen government regulation in the free market.
Does this violate the spirit or the letter of the United States Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
The current legal understanding in the United States is that patients own their informationbut health care providers have physical records. Therefore, a provider cannot withhold medical information from a patient, but can charge a reasonable fee for handing over the records, given that they are copying their own property to give to someone else.
One argument in favor of SB 1346 is that it limits a barrier that patients may face when obtaining their medical information and, by extension, it protects their access to their personal property. But that argument fails because this bill would deprive health care providers of the ability to assess the costs associated with managing their assets — physical medical records. In this case, the government would serve the rights of one group at the expense of another.