CDT submits these comments in response to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Serviceʼs (CMSʼ) June 8, 2011, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the Availability of Medicare Data for Performance Measurement required by Section 10332 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Reform of the U.S. health care system depends on robust, accurate measurement and public reporting of system performance, both in terms of cost and quality. CDT supports CMSʼ effort to release Medicare claims data to systematically measure the performance of providers and suppliers. However, it is vital that this information only be accessed, used and disclosed in a responsible manner that is protective of patient privacy and security.
In the report, PCAST – an advisory group of scientists and engineers appointed by the President – made several recommendations intended to make it easier to exchange health information from one health care system to another. Among the report’s recommendations is an approach that would apply a universal language for exchanging health data and would tag health data with certain information, including patient privacy preferences.
Some degree of government surveillance and secrecy is necessary to protect against national security threats. However, overbroad government power to conduct mass surveillance with minimal transparency threatens Constitutional freedoms and inhibits meaningful public debate. Here are four – but not the only – needed national security surveillance reforms that the Administration and Congress should tackle now.