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Two decades ago, the Bush administration threw a wrench in health data privacy, making it possible for many health care organizations to share medical information without patients’ consent so long as it was being used to improve treatment or streamline business operations.

Today, the health data marketplace looks vastly different. Medical records are being amassed by commercial data brokers and sold to insurance companies, and drug and device manufacturers, along with personal information scooped up online. At the same time, patient privacy law is wielded to inappropriately deny patients access to the records that contain some of the most intimate and sensitive details about their own health.

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