The National Association of Manufacturers this week praised Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) for his leadership in supporting healthcare IT legislation.
"Manufacturers are grateful for Rep. Dingell's leadership in moving forward with critical legislation to accelerate the use of health information technology," said NAM President and CEO John Engler. Engler delivered his remarks at a news conference that marked the one-year anniversary of Health IT Now! - a coalition of patients, doctors and employers.
Based in Washington D.C., the National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association. Its members are small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector across all 50 states.
Engler applauded the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the hearing it held June 5 on draft legislation supporting healthcare IT. Dingell serves as chairman of the committee.
"With healthcare costs increasing at three times the rate of inflation, we can't move fast enough to pump some digital efficiency into our healthcare system," Engler said. "Rising healthcare costs are one of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers and their employees. It's nearly impossible to expand a business and create jobs when insurance rates for employees are climbing higher and higher.
"It's going to take a collaborative effort to fix our healthcare system," he said, "and the implementation of health IT is a big part of that solution. Major U.S. corporations are moving ahead, but the federal government can be helpful."
Engler said shifting from paper to electronic health records would benefit patients and healthcare providers, but the country lacks the infrastructure to make the transition,
"Rep. Dingell's bill, along with the Kennedy-Enzi legislation in the Senate, organizes the infrastructure needed to fully realize the benefits of health IT all across America," Engler said. "We want to see a bipartisan health IT bill that will bring some real efficiency to America's healthcare system passed and signed into law this year."