Groups: Health IT bill not likely to move until 2009

Some stakeholders are viewing legislation introduced late Monday by House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Fortney (Pete) Stark, D-Calif. — intended to help spur nationwide adoption of electronic medical records — as a marker for early action in the 111th Congress rather than a vehicle that will move soon.

With less than two weeks left before lawmakers aim to adjourn, policy-watchers said today they doubt the bill could make much progress. Stark aides said they were working to schedule a markup for the legislation, which they hoped would be able to go straight to the full committee, but were realistic about how much could be done. They said Stark wants to pass health IT legislation before Congress adjourns but believes it is a long-shot. A Senate bill introduced more than a year ago by Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Edward Kennedy and ranking member Michael Enzi has been held up by several senators citing concerns over its cost and privacy provisions.

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