Sens. Snowe, Coburn Threaten To Block Health IT Bill Over Funding, Privacy Concerns

Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have threatened to block a floor vote on a bill (S 1693) that would create a nationwide electronic health record system, CongressDaily reports. The bill — sponsored by Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) — was “hotlined” Thursday in an attempt to bring it to the floor by unanimous consent, but the threats by Snowe and Coburn could delay voting on the measure until after the August recess, according to CongressDaily.

Snowe said she believes consumer privacy protections should go further than the language agreed to by Kennedy, Enzi and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in May. Enzi — ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — said that the privacy section of the bill is sufficient. He added, “I have no doubt that industry can keep every bit of information secure and if they don’t, I think they’re out of business.”

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