CNSNews.com has two must read pieces on the stimulus laws healthcare provisions… The first deals with the plans National Medical Records System provisions:
Stimulus Law Does Not Require All Americans to Enter Their Medical Records into National System, Dems Say
By Josiah Ryan, Staff Writer, CNSNews.com, Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Two top House Democrats told CNSNews.com on Friday that a section in the $787-billion economic stimulus bill that requires the creation of “electronic health records for each person in the United States by 2014” does not mean that the medical records of every American must be included in the new national infrastructure.
In the bill, which passed both chambers of Congress on Friday and which President Obama is scheduled to sign Tuesday, $3 billion is allocated for a “National Coordinator for Health Information Technology” to create and meet the objectives of a strategic plan to build a national infrastructure of “electronic health records for each person in the United States by 2014.”
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and House Health Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) both told CNSNews.com on Friday that they do not think the law mandates that every American’s health care records must be entered into the national system.
The second deals with exceptions in the law that could make it easier to sell medical records:
‘Exceptions’ in Stimulus Bill Allow Sale of Health Records
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer, CNSNews.com, Tuesday, February 17, 2009
(CNSNews.com) – It could become easier to sell and exchange the health information of Americans under the economic stimulus package that awaits President Barack Obama’s signature Tuesday.
The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that passed Congress last week allocates $19 billion to establish centrally linked health data infrastructure to contain the health information of “each American” by 2014 and to set up the new office of the “National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.”
Though the legislation says there is a “prohibition on sale of electronic health records or protected health information,” there are five pages of exceptions to the prohibition that include research, treatment of an individual, or a decision by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive the prohibition.
While the stimulus law’s healthcare provisions are worrying in and of themselves, the bigger concern is that this law was rushed through congress without any of the normal committee markups and debate. No one seems to know what’s in it. That is in my opinion the height of irresponsibility our elected leaders have a moral and ethical obligation to know what it is they are voting on before they vote to spend billions of dollars of our money.