Yankee Doodle went to Congress

The massive stimulus bill, complete with health care IT provisions, is quickly working its way through Congress. Originally there was a provision to require that health IT spending be directed only to US-made products. Thank goodness that provision was stripped from the final version.

It’s worth noting that it was Republicans who insisted on this foolish requirement. Remember that next time you hear Republican criticism of Democrats’ trade policy.

It’s critical that the US implement the best health IT systems there are, whatever their country of origin. And we should be promoting free trade in order to achieve sustained economic growth, not protectionist measures that echo some of the worst policy errors of the Great Depression.

The best IT systems include US and foreign contributions. It’s inane to insist on “made in America” measures.

Unfortunately, similar “buy American” provisions remain in the broader stimulus package.

January 29, 2009

One thought on “Yankee Doodle went to Congress”

  1. Back in July, the Consumer Electronics Association went on an educational tour around the country to help Americans recognize the importance of trade to economic growth and the creation of jobs. In New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined with the CEA saying, “Protectionism only protects the few and only for a few years, and over the long run, it hurts us all.” He spoke of a win-win situation with consumers getting better products at lower prices, incentives for American companies to become more innovative, and American workers getting good-paying jobs. Not only will trade in some cases (as you point out) allow us to have the best products in this country in the most important areas, like healthcare, but it will ultimately lead to a better economy.

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