Crazy Legislative Process

Posted on August 27, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Today I came across some really crazy news that one of the senators that helped write the healthcare reform bill hadn’t ever even read the entire bill. Here’s a section of the article:

During the debate over what later became the health care bill that was recently signed into law by President Obama, a number of federal representatives and senators both admitted that they had not read it. Some, including Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) even boasted of this fact. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) famously stated that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

Presumably the actual people who wrote the bill might have at least some idea what was in it. Unfortunately that isn’t the case with Max Baucus (D-Mont.), lead sponsor of the Senate bill that became law. He admitted as much Monday during a constituents meeting in the small Montana town of Libby, as reported by the Flathead Beacon, a local newspaper.

According to Baucus, the idea of him reading a bill allocating nearly $1 trillion of federal funds is “a waste of time:”

There’s just something that feels really wrong about the idea that even the senator that helped write the bill hasn’t read it all. Although, it’s not really all that surprising.

I’ve thought that the same thing happened with the HITECH Act. No doubt it was thrown together by a few people and the majority of senators had no clue what it really included or meant.

Can’t you imagine it? They kind of throw together this EHR certification term tey’ve heard. Yeah, certification sounds good. Also, let’s make them accountable by making sure they’re using the EMR. Ok, the rest of the details are up to you.

I’m sure that no senators or even junior staff actually thought much about the impact of requiring a certified EHR and how they might measure a doctor’s use of an EHR.

Of course, why should they “waste their time” on a mere $20-30 billion. They can’t waste their time on a trillion dollar ill, so why would they waste it on a so much smaller amount?