Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Congressmen and Your Health Records

OK. You read the language and figure it out.

...According to the language of the [stimulus] bill, it is the duty of the “National Coordinator for Health Information Technology” to ensure that federal health information technology programs are “meeting the objectives of the strategic plan” to, among other things, provide for “the electronic exchange and use of health information and the enterprise integration of such information” -- and the “utilization of an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014.”

Got that?

What do Congresscritters think that means?

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and House Health Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) both told CNSNews.com on Friday that they do not think the law mandates that every American’s health care records must be entered into the national system.

“You mean that everyone has to be in the database?” Pallone said when CNSNews.com asked him if the provision was mandatory. “I don’t think so.”


When asked whether there was a provision in the bill that allowed Americans to keep their records out of the program, Waxman said, "Yes."

“We tried to be very careful about individual privacy and we have a lot of protections written into the bill,” said Waxman.

However, Waxman's office did not provide CNSNews.com with the provision in the bill that would allow individuals to exempt themselves from the program

And then there's John McCain.

“I have not looked at those particular provisions as much as I have on the general effectiveness [of the stimulus],” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told CNSNews.com on Friday. “I don’t know frankly enough about that provision to give you an informed comment.” McCain is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Oh, good.

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