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Friday, February 13, 2009

Stimulus: Better Health, Better Jobs

Get jobs and better care: tell your doctor to get a computer!

The stimulus bill contains $21 billion for health information technology. Just $3 billion goes for the actual tech. The remaining $18 billion is rewards for hospitals that put the tech to work providing better care. Now on the one hand, you can argue this is the government telling doctors how to practice medicine. On the other hand, it's carrot, not stick. (Carrots are certainly healthier than pork.)

Also to the good, some CEOs estimate a $10 billion investment in health IT could generate 200,000 jobs. Good jobs. High-paying computer jobs. DSU grad jobs. Get to it, Congress!


  1. How in the world can you advocate voting for this rushed through bill WITHOUT reading it??? It was posted on line evidently for the congress people last night about 11 PM. Pelosi wants it signed before she leaves on an eight day trip to Europe tonight. There is no way on earth that the congress people can possibly read this thing and know what they are voting on by that time. This is an OUTRAGE.

  2. Even you admit this so-called health info technology will be telling docs how to practice. If you think it's bad now that an insurance company will deny coverage for certain things, just wait until a gov't bureaucrat does the same thing. And you think this is good???!

  3. Anonymous - calm down. This is not the end of the world. The conversion of medical records from paper to electronic has started taking place in early 2008 at Avera. This WILL NOT cause gov't intrusion onto your health care. It WILL make it easier for health care professionals to share information - in the end - making it easier to transfer doctors. I think this is a fantastic program!

  4. I never said electronic records were the problem. The problem lies when the gov't bureaucracy takes over control of medical decisions instead of physicians and hospitals.

  5. ANonymous 9:58
    Are you willing to put some money on the fact that the government will not use this information?

    I think we have a right to worry anytime someone besides our doctor can start looking over our medical records.

    But, thank God Nancy won't miss her vacation to Italy. Priorities you know!.

  6. Corey, when you're done with the debate tournament, answer this question.

    THis stimulus bill, you support, is supposed to "save or create 3.5 million jobs".
    I find that "save" part rather humorous. How will you actually prove its saved a job?

  7. If I get into a serious accident or have a major medical catastrophe, am unconscious or incoherent, and am rushed to an emergency room at a hospital that doesn't know me from Joe the Plumber, I hope they'll have access to my medical history immediately, so that they know, for example, that I am allergic to penicillin or that I react violently to epinephrine.

    If medical records are all electronically stored and easily available to medical institutions nationwide (or worldwide), then in my opinion, the benefits outweigh the privacy concerns.

    There will always be crooks who want to mess with our private information, be it medical, civil, or criminal. Maybe we should allocate some of the "stimulus" money for a Gray Hat Squadron of sharp hackers who can track down the dirty rats of cyberspace and help us put them where they belong -- even if they're in China!

  8. "save or create" -- I agree, Anon 10:20, that that phrase smells of rhetorical fudge. Proof will be tricky, although smarter economists than I can probably find ways to measure such things.

  9. Stan, why aren't you wearing a medic alert bracelet. Do you carry this information in your billfold?
    I'm sorry to hear that you're waiting for electronic record keeping to protect you.

  10. Anon@1009: what planet have you come from? "Physicians and hospitals don't make medical decisions - insurance companies do.

    We need to wipe the profit-grubbing insurance companies out of medical care. By the way, the evil government medical system treated me and my family just fine when in military service. I'll take that care over insurance company for-profit (rejecting) care any day.

  11. If you think that the insurance company is concerned with the bottom line, just wait until the fed gov't confronts the bottom line. You ain't seen nothin' yet, baby.

  12. Anon 8:15:

    Good point. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do carry that information in my billfold, as well as emergency contact information.

    I'm trying to paint a bigger picture, though: My medical history (and that of most people, I suspect) is far too long to fit into any bracelet or billfold.

    If paramedics and doctors have access to full medical histories at the click of a mouse, we stand to gain more in security than we lose in privacy.


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