Arnold Kling  

Questioning Medical Privacy

Does Unified Government Mean B... Aren't You Cold?...

Richard Posner writes,

The second motive for privacy, however—the desire to conceal discreditable facts—is more questionable from a social standpoint. In order to make advantageous transactions, both personal (such as dating or marriage or being named in a relative’s will) and commercial, people try to “put their best foot forward.” Often this involves concealing information that would cause potential transacting partners to refuse to transact with them or to demand better terms as a condition of doing so. Such concealment is a species of fraud.

He argues that the case for medical privacy is limited. While people with no need to know your medical history should not be able to peruse it, Posner argues that the law should not help you to conceal your medical history from, say, an insurance company.

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COMMENTS (1 to date)
Lawrance George Lux writes:

The main factor here is Tenant injury to the Contracting party. The Individual's right to Privacy is limited from any attempt to gain personal betterment at the cost of loss to Another.

Posner's insurance issue is another thing altogether. The entire theory of Insurance is to take a General Pool, in which major factors can impose substantial costs, and spread the risk among all Participants. Do Insurers have the moral right to exclude Individuals from Risk-spreading because they have been proven to be a higher Risk than normal?

The Legal Right alters from the moral right, if all Insured (Risk-spreaders) face acturial Costs higher than statistical average, due to the addition of the higher-than-normal Risks. A difficult question. lgl

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