Democratic Task Force To Push E-Prescribing Bill
The New Democrat Coalition on Tuesday announced a health care task force that will advocate for bipartisan legislation, CongressDaily reports (Johnson, CongressDaily, 1/30).
The task force has expressed support for a bill (S 2048) proposed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that would require all physicians to use electronic prescribing for Medicare patients starting in 2011 (Cooley, CQ HealthBeat, 1/29).
It also will focus on legislation dealing with the prevention of chronic disease, value-based payments to providers and research into the comparative effectiveness of drugs.
Coalition Chair Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) said the panel is focusing on modernization -- "the things we're good at -- technology, innovation, strategy." She added, "We think there are a lot of things we can get bipartisan support for, but we're also teeing up for what we expect to be a big change in 2009."
A roundtable discussion on Tuesday with representatives from the health care industry "showed the difficulty of skirting controversial issues," such as health services for uninsured, undocumented immigrants, the rising cost of medical liability and privacy related to electronic health records, CongressDaily reports.
Tauscher said, "We can get consensus on some of the things that don't necessarily involve those pieces."
The task force is led by Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee (CongressDaily, 1/30).