Creating the building blocks for huge information systems to store and exchange the medical secrets of millions of Americans WITHOUT building in privacy from the start is incredibly reckless and risky. It's sort of like hopping on a super-charged motorcycle and then thinking about the need for a helmet AFTER you hit the car. It's too risky, as I'm sure Pittsburgh Steelers' fans everywhere would agree.

The Markey-Capps amendment, which was defeated on a party line vote, would:

Give patients the power to keep their medical records out of these electronic databases unless they first give their permission;

Require patients to be notified if their health information in the system was lost, stolen or used for an unauthorized purpose; and

Require the use of data security safeguards such as encryption.

To achieve the benefits of health IT systems, we need to hard-wire health IT systems with strong privacy protections and the House should put those safeguards in place before any bill like this passes.