Obama Touts Medicaid, Health IT Funds as Part of Economic Stimulus
During his weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday, President-elect Barack Obama released additional details about his economic stimulus package, which he said would include funds for Medicaid and health care information technology, Long Island Newsday reports (Brune, Long Island Newsday, 12/8).
Among other measures, the package would seek to provide hospitals and physicians with access to electronic health record systems and other new medical technology (Shear, Washington Post, 12/7). Obama said that such a measure could help improve health care delivery and reduce costs (Nicholas/Hook, Chicago Tribune, 12/7).
Obama did not provide details about the total cost of the package (Schouten, USA Today, 12/8).
Estimates of the cost of the package have reached as high as $1.2 trillion (Long Island Newsday, 12/8).
According to CongressDaily, congressional Democrats acknowledge that a "deal with Republicans and the Bush White House remains unlikely before January," an indication that "any action on a stimulus package is not expected next week" (Hunt/Sanchez, CongressDaily, 12/5).
Top economic advisers to Obama and congressional Democrats hope to complete work on the package in January to allow Obama to sign the legislation when he takes office on Jan. 20, 2009.
However, on Saturday, "congressional sources expressed skepticism ... that a program of such size and scope could be passed in the two weeks after Congress returns to Washington on Jan. 6," the Post reports.
According to the Post, "Democrats said that even if a recovery act quickly passed the House early next year, it could take longer in the Senate, where fiscally conservative Republicans have expressed concern about adding to the soaring deficit with a massive new round of government spending" and where "Republicans could easily hold up a final vote" (Washington Post, 12/7).
On Sunday, NBC's "Meet the Press" included an interview with Obama during which he discussed details of his stimulus package (Brokaw, "Meet the Press," NBC, 12/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.