May 21, 2012
About a year before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama took one of his first steps toward reforming the U.S. health care system by signing the 2009 federal economic stimulus package. The package's HITECH Act authorizes Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments for health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems.
Janet Marchibroda, chair of the Health IT Initiative for the Bipartisan Policy Center's Health Project, said that the HITECH Act -- and particularly the EHR incentive programs -- "really laid the foundation for a number of the delivery system and payment reforms that are addressed in the health reform law." She added that the HITECH Act and the health reform law "share common goals around improving quality, improving cost effectiveness and even improving access to care."
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