Government // Leadership
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12/1/2009
12:50 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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IT Is 'Pillar' Of White House Healthcare Strategy

Healthcare IT adoption is one of four pillars on which the Obama administration is basing its healthcare strategy, and is key to containing costs, administration healthcare officials said. Healthcare IT should be combined with a budget-neutral healthcare reform bill, establishing a Medicare Commission to improve quality, and an excise tax on expensive private healthcare plans, all of which are included in the Senate healthcare reform bill.

Healthcare IT adoption is one of four pillars on which the Obama administration is basing its healthcare strategy, and is key to containing costs, administration healthcare officials said. Healthcare IT should be combined with a budget-neutral healthcare reform bill, establishing a Medicare Commission to improve quality, and an excise tax on expensive private healthcare plans, all of which are included in the Senate healthcare reform bill.Administration officials discussed healthcare reform in a conference call with reporters last week, according to HealthcareIT News. Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, told reporters she is "very pleased with the way the bill is shaping up for cost containment."

Included in that bill are elements of delivery system reform such as funding to research and establish evidence-based care and changing incentives so that providers provide services based on quality over quantity of care.

The officials signaled Obama's support for the Senate version of healthcare reform, which differs from House legislation in key respects, according to The New York Times:

The health care legislation that the House adopted on Nov. 7 did not include the excise tax on the so-called Cadillac insurance plans. But the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, included the levy in the bill that the Senate will begin debating in earnest next week, and many health economists say it is vital to slowing long-term costs.

The House legislation also did not include the proposed Medicare commission, a central component of the Senate measure.

My colleague Marianne Kolbasuk McGee has more details on the IT provisions of the Senate bill. These include the call to develop standards for data interoperability, reduce paperwork, beef up IT for skilled nursing homes, and more.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).

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