How can one respond to the news of four more Republicans writing another letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the federal electronic health-record incentive payment program other than to invoke Ronald Reagan?
"There you go again."
In their Oct. 17 letter (PDF), Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) weren't as lopsided in their argument or as inflammatory in their rhetoric questioning the program as were their House counterparts, who, in an Oct. 4 letter accused the feds of "padding the numbers" of EHR adopters while alleging the program will squander taxpayers' dollars.
The senators in their letter also did what those House members should have done—in claiming thatthey didn't understand what was happening with the ongoing federal health information technology initiative, they asked for a meeting with the pros at HHS to try and get some answers.
That said, it's at least worth noting that, like their House counterparts, none of these four senators voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which created the EHR incentive payment program.
And, like their House colleagues, their approach—inadvertently or intentionally, if anyone takes it seriously—could cause serious damage to the program.