As Congress drafts an economic stimulus package, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., proposed that federal funding be distributed to states for healthcare IT initiatives in a letter to President-elect Barack Obama.
"Long-term cost cutting measures, such as the use of electronic medical records, can help stimulate the healthcare economy while providing important groundwork for a larger healthcare proposal in the near future. Federal funding to help states implement health information technology improvements will encourage needed modernization to health[care] records and provide states the means to promote innovations in this area,” Leahy wrote in the letter, dated Dec. 18, 2008.
Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee and a member of the Appropriations Committee, also expressed support for federal funding to deploy broadband Internet connectivity in rural areas, and discussed priorities for transportation; law enforcement and crime prevention; nutrition; small business assistance; energy efficiency; community redevelopment; affordable housing; Medicaid; school construction; and water infrastructure initiatives that the stimulus package could fund.
“I believe that these timely, temporary and targeted stimulus measures could strengthen our economy by boosting consumer demand, promoting economic growth and creating jobs,” Leahy concluded.