Stimulus Provision Means 'New Bureaucracy' for Health IT
Following up on a post from this morning, The Eye spoke with Betsy McCaughey, the author of an op-ed that raises concerns about a provision in the stimulus package dealing with the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology at the Department of Health and Human Services.
McCaughey acknowledged she knew the coordinator office was established by President Bush in 2004, even though she referred to it as a "new bureaucracy" in her op-ed.
She said she did so because, “It’s being changed from an office that advises doctors and hospitals that want to use medical technology into an office that enforces a universal federal system. The name of the office may be the same, but the scope, purpose and coercive powers attached to it are quite different.”
McCaughey, elected New York lieutenant governor in 1994 as a Republican, is now a registered Democrat.
“I’m not making my arguments based on partisanship," she said.
“I also support the concept of electronic medical records. I’m a health advocate, I advocate for patients and I know that patients generally get better care when doctors can get their medical information instantly. But that’s only the beginning of this bill."
Democrats hope that congressional negotiators will produce a quick agreement on the stimulus so that the House can vote on it Thursday and the Senate over the weekend. McCaughey would prefer they move more slowly.
“These provisions are so serious that they deserve debate in Congress and among the public as well. We’ve been deprived of that opportunity," she said.
| February 11, 2009; 2:32 PM ET
Categories: Congress, Oversight
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