Democrat Coalition To Tackle E-Prescribing

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The NewDemocrat Coalition onTuesday announced a health care task force that will advocate forbipartisan legislation, CongressDailyreports (Johnson, CongressDaily,1/30).

The task force has expressed support for a bill (S2408) proposed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) that would require allphysicians to use electronic prescribing for Medicare patientsstarting in 2011 (Cooley, CQHealthBeat, 1/29). It alsowill focus on legislation dealing with the prevention of chronicdisease, value-based payments to providers and research into thecomparative effectiveness of drugs.


Coalition Chair Rep.Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) said the panel is focusing on modernization-- "the things we're good at -- technology, innovation,strategy." She added, "We think there are a lot of thingswe can get bipartisan support for, but we're also teeing up for whatwe expect to be a big change in 2009."

A roundtablediscussion on Tuesday with representatives from the health careindustry "showed the difficulty of skirting controversialissues," such as health services for uninsured, undocumentedimmigrants, the rising cost of medical liability and privacy relatedto electronic health records, CongressDailyreports. Tauscher said, "We can get consensus on some of thethings that don't necessarily involve those pieces."

Thetask force is led by Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), a member of theHouseEnergy and Commerce Committee;Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), a member of the HouseWays and Means Committee;and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), a member of the HouseEducation and Labor Committee(CongressDaily,1/30).

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