Kennedy debuts health care reform bill

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) has introduced long-awaited legislation to reform the health care system in an effort to reduce costs and make coverage available to all Americans. The 651-page bill includes several information technology provisions and creates new roles for the federal advisory committees that assist in setting standards for health IT.

For example, the legislation directs the Health and Human Services Department’s secretary to work with the Health IT Policy Committee and the Health IT Standards Committee to set standards for interoperable information systems that electronically enroll individuals in federal and state health programs. Those two advisory committees were formed to help HHS develop standards for health IT under the economic stimulus law.

Kennedy’s bill would also authorize use of IT for quality measurement data that would be distributed online and calls for incorporating best practices into decision-support software.

The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee intends to hold a public hearing on the legislation on June 11 and mark up the bill, with amendments, on June 16.

In a statement, Kennedy said negotiations are continuing with Republicans regarding the option of a government-sponsored health plan and an employer mandate.

About the Authors


Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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