Washington Post Examines Gingrich Plan for Electronic Medical Records
The Washington Post on Tuesday looked at former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's (R-Ga.) efforts to expand the use of electronic medical records and reform what he calls the "stunningly stupid" aspects of the U.S. health care system. According to the Post, Gingrich believes that U.S residents will be more effective health care consumers if they have access to the latest information technology. Since resigning from Congress, Gingrich has written a book -- "Saving Lives & Saving Money" -- and created the Center for Health Transformation, a for-profit think tank that links health industry officials with like-minded politicians to promote IT, individualism and free market principles for health care. According to the Post, Gingrich has been "playing policy footsie" with "liberal Democrats" such as Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), and he is "credited with helping sell" the Medicare legislation to AARP. Recently, Gingrich has been encouraging the Bush administration to record electronically the results of the upcoming "Welcome to Medicare" physical examinations, a move that would give health providers a baseline of patient information online. Gingrich said, "There is no possible way it is cost-effective to have scattered 2.2 million records around the country for a mobile population of retirees. With the amount you're going to spend on Xeroxing and Fedexing, you will have more than paid for electronic health records (Connolly, Washington Post, 7/13).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.