Bush signs federal data-sharing bill

On Tuesday President Bush signed a bill requiring the four federal agencies in charge of healthcare--HHS, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Office of Personnel Management--to share data amongst agencies and with beneficiaries. At a recent discussion on the subject, President Bush stated, "The fact is, if you have excellent information about quality, about service and about price, people make good decisions," according to The Washington Post. The four agencies must provide the always-controversial quality data as well as report on the cost of common procedures. Many states and insurers have undertaken efforts to report on quality and costs but considering that the government pays for 40 percent of healthcare delivered in the U.S., this is by far the biggest step forward in the transparency movement.

For more information:
- see this Washington Post report
- read some background and reaction in this Daily Health Policy Report. Article

PLUS: Read the AMA's response to President Bush's order. Release

ALSO: America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) celebrates the transparency initiative. Release