Thursday, March 17, 2005

Not So Good News

Senate Budget Committee Chair Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) on Tuesday said the fiscal year 2006 budget resolution currently on the Senate floor includes a reserve fund for health care information technology. However, the fund does not have an exact dollar amount attached to it, and there is no guarantee that it will become law, CQ HealthBeat reports. Section 301 of the budget package approved by the Senate Budget Committee calls for a reserve fund for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to improve health care through IT and pay-for-performance measures. However, any money put into the reserve fund would have to come from cuts in other federal programs, which could be difficult amid "record deficits," CQ HealthBeat reports.Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the reserve fund would not be enough to fund health care IT initiatives. "Clearly, the administration's got to push for the funding, and that's what has to change," Wyden said (CQ HealthBeat, 3/16).

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