Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Obama and McCain on Health IT.

With less than a month to go until the US general election iHealthBeat has published a useful summary of what we can expect from each of the candidates.

Modernizing Health Care With President Obama or President McCain

With only 35 days left until the presidential election, Americans have an important decision to make regarding the future of health care. With the perpetual problems of rising costs, poor quality and the uninsured, Americans must decide which candidate is better suited to help build a 21st century intelligent health system that saves lives and money for all Americans.

A critical part of any solution will be the rapid deployment of health IT. Both Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) know the importance of modernizing our system through IT, and while some may condemn one or the other as someone who “doesn’t get it,” one point needs to be clarified: health IT is not a bipartisan issue -- it is a nonpartisan issue. Everyone agrees on its necessity. Everyone agrees on the goals we should work toward.

Where many advocates and policymakers disagree is how best to accomplish these shared objectives.

I believe that a President Obama or a President McCain will make health reform, and thus health IT, a top priority. It is just too important an issue to ignore.

So what would each man do to advance health IT specifically? Yes, we can look at their promises from the stump and read their health care plans for a general sense of how each man would advance health IT, but the reality is that campaign politics do not allow for intricate or exhaustive policy proposals, nor should the campaign trail be the place for this kind of policy development.

Much more here:

http://www.ihealthbeat.org/Perspectives/2008/Modernizing-Health-Care-With-President-Obama-or-President-McCain.aspx

At the end of the article there are relevant links.

More On The Web

There is also a summary of the more general policy positions of the two on health in general here:

Health plans pit low-cost vs. public coverage

By TONY LEYS

leys@dmreg.com

November's presidential election offers a dramatic choice on how to attack America's health care problems.

Should the country try to hold down costs by encouraging consumers to shop for inexpensive coverage? That's what Republican John McCain proposes.

Or should the government build on the current system by offering more public insurance plans and subsidies to uninsured people, as Democrat Barack Obama wants to do?

Iowans heard a lot about the issue during last winter's caucus campaigns, in which each party's candidates quibbled with each other over relatively small variations in their health care proposals. But now, with two general-election candidates whose differences are stark, the discussion has taken a back seat to worries about the overall economy.

More here:

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080929/NEWS09/809290326/-1/LIFE04

The most comprehensive analysis of the differences between the two I have so far seen is provided by the Commonwealth Fund. This is found here:

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=707948

While it is clearly a good thing that both the candidates have expressed a view on the topic of Health IT, I must say the prospect of real money is attractive.

On page 2 of the main health policy document from Brack Obama we have:

(1) INVEST IN ELECTRONIC HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS. Most medical records are still stored on paper, which makes them difficult to use to coordinate care, measure quality, or reduce medical errors. Processing paper claims also costs twice as much as processing electronic claims. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records. They will also phase in requirements for full implementation of health IT and commit the necessary federal resources

to make it happen. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will ensure that these systems are developed in coordination with providers and frontline workers, including those in rural and underserved areas. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will ensure that patients’ privacy is protected. A study by the Rand Corporation found that if most hospitals and doctors offices adopted electronic health records, up to $77 billion of savings would be realized each year through improvements such as reduced hospital stays, avoidance of duplicative and unnecessary testing, more appropriate drug utilization, and other efficiencies.

John McCain has the following:

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Greater Use Of Information Technology To Reduce Costs. We should promote the rapid deployment of 21st century information systems and technology that allows doctors to practice across state lines.

I am afraid if I had a vote I would have to lean to the Democrats!

David.

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