Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Partner To Promote Technology in Health Care
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) has partnered with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) on an "ambitious program to bring American medicine into the Internet Age," the Providence Journal reports. Kennedy has asked Gingrich to deliver the keynote address at the "Frontiers of Healthcare" conference at Brown University on June 21. In addition, Kennedy and Gingrich have begun to draft legislation -- called the Quality, Efficiency, Standards, and Technology for Healthcare Transformation Act -- that would establish a "fully wired, integrated, paperless" health care system by 2015. The legislation would authorize series of low-cost, nationwide pilot programs, establish a system to rate their effectiveness and later create a fund for annual grants for states to purchase and develop health care technologies. Kennedy plans to introduce the bill after the June conference.
According to the Journal, for years, "government, business and medicine have been frustrated in efforts to attain the kind of system-wide pairing of health care and information technology that could trigger significant savings and medical improvements," largely because of the "fragmentation of American health care." In addition, the bill drafted by Kennedy and Gingrich "will face political obstacles," the Journal reports. Kennedy and Gingrich "acknowledge that daunting obstacles stand in the way of a system-wide, high-tech retooling of the health care system" but maintain that "computerization might transcend the innate party differences over medical policy" through the "values of thrift and entrepreneurship, which both parties embrace," the Journal reports. Gingrich also said that recent political failures may help Republicans and Democrats seek a compromise on health care reforms. He said, "On the right, there is the realization that you can't defend the status quo" in health care because of the quality problems and high costs. "On the left, there is a realization that we are never going to get a big, bureaucratic solution" to problems in the health care system, Gingrich added (Mulligan, Providence Journal, 4/21).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.