Thursday, January 15, 2009

News You Can Use: NBGH pushes for spending on health IT, COBRA subsidies

As Congress starts to set the details of an economic stimulus package, the National Business Group on Health on Monday outlined its health care priorities.

It recommends that the stimulus package include spending on health information technology, medical research on comparative effectiveness and subsidies for unemployed people to pay for COBRA coverage.

NBGH President Helen Darling acknowledged that these ideas could be very expensive, but also said they can revive the national economy and generate long-term improvements in the health care system’s quality and efficiency.

Health IT spending should focus mainly on small physician groups because that’s “where we are least likely to have progress” without government support, she added.

Stressing the urgency of the situation, Darling said Congress should act quickly and make compromises because “we are in a war for the recovery of the U.S. economy.” She said she’s “very optimistic about health reform” coming as a set of changes, rather than a single package.
--Leah Carlson Shepherd

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