Late last night, the Senate Law and Justice Committee voted along party lines to advance House Bill 1155 – the my health, my data bill. The legislation, as currently written, will undoubtedly lead to consumer angst, confusion, increased costs, product shortages or unavailability, retail employee troubles, and frivolous and costly litigation.
The definition of “consumer health data” is so broad in the bill that everyday items like aspirin, vitamins, “healthy” athletic clothing, “healthy” foods, and on and on will all have to meet this new higher-than-HIPAA standard for data collection and utilization. Customers will be forced to “consent” at the cash register for everyday items like cold and flu medicine.
Furthermore, the bill allows for lawsuits against any retailer that unknowingly makes an honest mistake. With no “right to cure” provision, retailers will be forced to defend themselves in court or settle expensive, unwarranted lawsuits.
Initially, the bill purported to protect a consumer’s sensitive health care information. Innocuous everyday “health” related products and services can be construed as “sensitive” and “personal,” which is confusing and beyond the bill’s intent or scope. This legislation would outlaw even time-saving and convenient store apps that customers enjoy.
Washington Retail is concerned about this legislation for several reasons and urges the legislature to halt the bill’s progress. Instead, we propose initiating a transparent, authentic, and meaningful stakeholder process to include those most impacted by these severe changes. This must be done before we unintentionally impede consumers’ access to healthcare-related products and services, which will disproportionately affect disadvantaged and impoverished Washingtonians.