February 11, 2009
Two provisions in President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan could give the federal government the authority to oversee the medical decisions made between doctors and patients, critics warn, which could result in the rationing of health care.
The plan to make all health records electronic and establish an effectiveness board to review health care costs was part of the $838 billion economic stimulus bill that passed the Senate Tuesday.
The bill provides $3 billion to computerize health records, a measure intended to cut costs and reduce medical errors. Language in the stimulus bill calls for “the utilization of an electronic health record (EHR) for each person in the United States by 2014.”
This will require the establishment of the office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The new office ‘‘provides appropriate information to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care,” according to the language in the bill.