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Protections in health and medical care are not limited to the protection of an individual's right to make decisions about his or her own body and mind. Protections also extend to the release of an individual's privacy-protected information in medical care and medical research settings. An example of such an extension of protection is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) in the United States.

HIPAA (Public Law 104–191), as enacted in the United States on August 21, 1996, required the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue privacy regulations governing individually identifiable health information if Congress did not enact privacy legislation within 3 years of the passage of HIPAA.

Since Congress did not enact privacy legislation within that ...

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