Allscripts boss, D.C. reporter say GOP unlikely to roll back HITECH

Just like FierceEMR said last week, a number of people closer to the action than a freelance, telecommuting editor believe the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and big gains in the Senate and state governorships in last week's midterm election won't have much of an effect on the new federal EMR incentive program.

"Healthcare IT is a nonpartisan issue," Allscripts Healthcare Solutions CEO Glen Tullman told the Wall Street Journal Health Blog. Plus, as the Journal points out, Republican threats to repeal "healthcare reform" generally refer to this year's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The estimated $27 billion in "meaningful use" incentives come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed in 2009.

It's highly unlikely GOP leadership will try to roll back the HITECH portion of ARRA, said Politico healthcare reporter Jennifer Haberkorn, who spoke at a HIMSS press briefing last Friday. "It's not on the radar," she said, according to Healthcare IT News. "The attitude on [Capitol] Hill is that health IT funding is creating jobs."

Even if conservative House members do succeed in repealing the Patient Protection Act, such an attempt is dead on arrival in the Senate, where the Democrats will maintain a slim majority. And even if a repeal makes it through the Senate, President Obama probably would break out his veto pen, Haberkorn said.

If any reduction in government spending on EMRs will happen, it's likely to happen at the state level, where the GOP now controls 53 percent of state legislative seats nationwide, according to Tim Storey, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislators, another speaker at the HIMSS press conference.

For additional details:
- read this Wall Street Journal Health Blog interview with Tullman
- see this Healthcare IT News story