Healthcare IT a catalyst to lowering costs
Almost a week before the Republican Party kick-started its national convention in New York, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced that President Bush's efforts to promote healthcare information technology (IT) investments will lower healthcare costs.

The announcement proves timely - the Census Bureau also released a report last week detailing that the number of Americans without health insurance increased by 1.4 million between 2002 and 2003. The overall number of people with health insurance coverage increased by 1 million in 2003.

According to Thompson, the President understands that rising healthcare costs put access to health coverage and medical care out of reach for many Americans, and that there is no simple answer to this complex problem.

However, Thompson added that the President has developed a comprehensive plan for reducing the uninsured that targets those who need help the most and uses consumer-driven healthcare and marketplace competition to lower costs.

"The President is working to expand access to healthcare for all Americans, beginning with those who need it most," Secretary Thompson said. "His initiatives are expanding access to medical care for children and lower-income Americans, as evidenced by his successful expansion of community health centers, children's health coverage and Medicaid programs."

"Yet, the President knows more needs to be done, particularly when it comes to lowering the cost of healthcare so that it is accessible to more people," the Secretary added. "The President is investing significantly in healthcare technology to bring down the cost of delivering medical care, and he continues to press for medical liability reform as frivolous lawsuits and defensive medicine continue to drive up healthcare costs."