Why is it taking so long? Well, because everything in America now takes long, and longer still. But beyond that malign trend are more specific innovations, such as the “Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology,” which slipped through all but unnoticed in Subtitle A Part One Section 3001 of the 2009 Obama stimulus bill. Under the Supreme National Coordinator, the United States government is setting up a national database for everybody’s medical records, so that if a Texan hiker falls off Mount Katahdin after walking the Appalachian Trail, Maine’s first responders will be able to know exactly how many bisexual gun-owners she’s slept with, and afford her the necessary care.
This great medical advance is supposed to be fully implemented by 2014, so the federal government is providing incentives for doctors to comply. Under the EHR Incentive Program, if a physician makes “meaningful use” of electronic health records, he’s eligible for “bonuses” from the feds — a mere $44,000 from Medicare, for example, but up to $63,750 from Medicaid. If you have a practice at 27 Elm Street and you’re treating the elderly widow from 22 Elm Street, she’s unlikely to meet the federally mandated bi-guy requirement, but you can still qualify for bonuses by filing her smoking status with Washington. For medical facilities in upscale suburbs, EHR is costly and time-consuming, and, along with a multitude of other Obamacare regulatory burdens, helping drive doctors to opt out entirely: My comrade Michelle Malkin noted the other day that her own general practitioner has now switched over to “concierge care,” under which all third parties (whether private insurers or government) are dumped and a patient contracts with his doctor solely through his checkbook. Some concierge docs will even make house calls: Everything old is new again! (For as long as the new federal commissars permit it.)