Obama pledges 'hundreds of thousands of new jobs' by boosting healthcare

By Bernie Monegain
10:31 AM

President-elect Barack Obama once again turned his focus on healthcare and technology over the weekend as he addressed the nation on the topic of unemployment in his weekly radio address, promising to create jobs by employing information technology to improve healthcare.

"We'll create hundreds of thousands of jobs by improving health care - transitioning to a nationwide system of computerized medical records that won't just save money, but save lives by preventing deadly medical errors," Obama said.

The statement is one that Obama had already made in a speech earlier in the week In Fairfax, Va.

Obama has pledged as part of his healthcare reform plan to invest $50 billion over five years to support the adoption and use of electronic health records. He said he envisions all Americans would have a digital record within five years.

President Bush first mentioned healthcare IT and its potential in a State of the Union Address in 2004. He called then for conversion to digital records in 10 years. He later named the nation's first healthcare IT coordinator - a position now filled by Robert M. Kolodner, MD. And Bush's choice for Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt has been an advocate of healthcare IT throughout his tenure.

In his last news conference at president on Monday morning, Bush responded to a wide range of questions on foreign policy on the economic stimulus package, homeland security and on his performance in office. There was no mention of healthcare IT.
Besides creating new jobs in healthcare, Obama, in his Saturday address, promised hundreds of thousands more jobs in education and in revamping the infrastructure across the nation, include expanding the country's broadband network.

"We'll put nearly 400,000 people to work by repairing our infrastructure - our crumbling roads, bridges and schools," he said.   "And we'll build the new infrastructure we need to succeed in this new century, investing in science and technology, and laying down miles of new broadband lines so that businesses across our nation can compete with their counterparts around the world."


Photo by BohPhoto and obtained under Creative Commons license.

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