Press-release puppet Pat Powers makes himself and his sponsor Senator John Thune look like an idiot with today's repost of a letter from Senator Thune and 16 Republican Senate colleagues. These hardy Republicans are calling for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to extend the Electronic Health Records Incentive Program, the program that paid anti-government GOP Senate candidate Annette Bosworth $21,250 to use computers in her clinic. Senator Thune and his GOP colleagues want more doctors to have more time to qualify for more government money.
Let me repeat that:
Senator Thune and his GOP colleagues want more doctors to have more time to qualify for more government money.
Put that hot coffee down. It gets better.
Senator John Thune voted against the ARRA. So did all 13 of his fellow letter signers who were in Congress in 2009 (see the ARRA final roll calls in Senate and House on Feb. 13, 2013). They weren't voting against the stimulus because they thought the Stage 2 EHR adoption deadline was "artificially aggressive." They were voting against EHR incentives and the rest of the bill because they said President Barack Obama was spending money we didn't have on things that wouldn't work.
Now they say EHR incentives work great:
The Electronic Health Records (EHR) Meaningful Use Incentive Program has played a significant role in advancing the adoption of health information technology across the country [Senator John Thune et al., letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 2013.09.24].
I don't know if Pat Powers even reads the press releases his sponsors tell him to run, but Senator Thune sure doesn't read them in the full context of history and his own voting record.