Health IT Legislation To Help Reduce Costs For US Manufacturers

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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"Health care reform is a divisive issue in Washington, but there is wide agreement on one solution to lower costs and improve care": health care information technology, Drew Greenblatt, president and owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products and a member of the board of the National Association of Manufacturers, writes in a Baltimore Sun opinion piece. According to Greenblatt, with health care IT, "all medical records are stored electronically and available worldwide," and physicians can "instantly access medical information" for their patients.

Greenblatt writes, "Obviously, the benefits of health IT go far beyond patient convenience" because "something as simple as another doctor's illegible handwriting or an improperly transcribed note can cause a patient to get less than ideal care." In addition, he writes that a "balance is required between protecting patient privacy and giving health care professionals access to patient medical information" and that health care IT "offers better security for private medical information through high-tech firewalls and secure data encryption."

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Greenblatt adds that the "increased efficiency in treatment made possible by health IT will also help contain rising health care costs," an issue that has become "a major concern for business owners, like me, who offer health care coverage." U.S. "manufacturers who provide health coverage spend an average of $2.38 per worker per hour on health care costs," or "more than double what foreign competitors pay," Greenblatt writes, adding, "Spiraling health care costs have forced many manufacturers to tighten their budgets, making it difficult or impossible to expand" their businesses or provide more jobs.

"If Congress doesn't act to rein in these costs, American companies will be forced to either scale back on health benefits or shift manufacturing jobs overseas in order to compete," he writes, concluding, "We need Congress to act -- now" (Greenblatt, Baltimore Sun, 8/18).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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