Obama's first 100 days: Health IT has been a priority

By Diana Manos
10:35 AM

Wednesday marks President Barack Obama's 100th day in office – a stretch that has seen heavy focus on healthcare reform and health IT.

Jeff Blum, executive director of USAction, praised Obama's actions, including his efforts to advance health IT.

Obama's plan focuses on using health IT to cut costs and save lives. The president has pledged to aim for widespread use of electronic medical records by 2014.

Blum praised Obama for his quick enactment of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which extended health benefits to more than 11 million uninsured children. He also supported the president's use of stimulus funding to expand Medicaid coverage and to help unemployed Americans pay for private insurance. The stimulus package also includes major incentives to advance health IT.

Blum urged the administration and the public to continue working toward high quality, affordable healthcare for every American.

Blum cheered the $634 billion "healthcare reserve fund" included in Obama's 2010 budget as a building block for a progressive and effective national healthcare system.

Blum also warned that the most critical steps in healthcare reform are yet to come.

On Monday, the Institute for Policy Studies released a report on Obama's progress, grading him with a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.  "Thirsting for Change: Obama's First 100 Days," features evaluations of Obama's progress during his first 100 days in office on a wide range of domestic and international issues. The president received generally positive reviews, particularly on his progressive rhetoric and some far-reaching domestic policy changes.

Others weren't so positive, Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House and founder of the Center for Health Transformation, said Obama has managed to coax Congress into passing laws that undermine their own power.

"Under the guise of `economic stimulus,' Obama was able to pass a $787 billion gift for his liberal special interest base. And he did it so quickly that no member of Congress was able to read it before they voted," Gingrich said. "After campaigning on a pledge to end earmarks, he signed an appropriations bill loaded with 8,000 earmarks – and paid no political penalty."

Obama will hold a press conference Wednesday night at 8 p.m. EDT on his first 100 days.

Photo obtained under creative commons license. - Ed