NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Gallup Survey On Medical Privacy

October 2, 2000

An overwhelming majority of Americans do not want the government or other third parties to have access to their medical records without their permission and oppose a federal requirement to use a medical identification number assigned by the government, according to a new Gallup survey commissioned by the Institute for Health Freedom.

The Gallup telephone survey of 1,000 adults nationwide was conducted between August 11 and August 26, 2000. With a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, respondents answered questions Key findings include:

  • 78 percent feel it is very important that their medical records be kept confidential.
  • 93 percent say that medical and government researchers should not be allowed to study an individual's genetic information unless they first obtain his or her consent.
  • 92 percent oppose allowing government agencies to see their medical records without their permission; 82 percent object to insurance companies gaining access without permission; and 67 percent oppose researchers seeing their medical records without the patient's permission.
  • 91 percent oppose a federal requirement to assign everyone a medical identification number, similar to a Social Security number, to create a national medical database.

"Any new law or regulation -- whether federal or state --that strips Americans of their right to determine who sees their medical records is going against the will of the majority of citizens," said Sue Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom.

Source: Gallup Organization, "Public Attitudes Toward Medical Privacy," September 2000, Institute for Health Freedom, 1155 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20036, (202) 429-6610.

For survey text:


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