A simple question doesn’t always have a simple answer. “Why did my friend go to the hospital?” seems to be a simple question, but the answer is blocked by a federal law. While most think of the law as the protector of medical records, privacy isn’t even in its name.
We call it HIPAA (pronounced HIP-pah), but the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 also has been known as the Kassebaum-Kennedy Act or Kennedy-Kassebaum Act. Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum, R-Kan., was a leading sponsor of the bill, along with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.