Brief Thought: There's Always a Winner, But Not Always a Conspiracy

Jan. 3, 2012
The Washing Post recently ran an article titled "The Machinery Behind Health-Care Reform: How an Industry Lobby Scored a Swift, Unexpected Victory by Channeling Billions to Electronic Records". The industry lobby mentioned in the sub-title is HIMSS ( Health Information and Managements Systems Society) and the article strongly implied some kind of impropriety on the part of HIMSS, the Obama administration and/or certain thought-leaders in the EHR movement.

The Washing Post recently ran an article titled "The Machinery Behind Health-Care Reform: How an Industry Lobby Scored a Swift, Unexpected Victory by Channeling Billions to Electronic Records". The industry lobby mentioned in the sub-title is HIMSS ( Health Information and Managements Systems Society) and the article strongly implied some kind of impropriety on the part of HIMSS, the Obama administration and/or certain thought-leaders in the EHR movement. While I could write a long post poking holes in the Washington Post article, I want to make a simpler, more basic point. Nearly every industry has at least one lobby representing it in Washington. Doesn't matter whether the industry is for profit or not-for-profit. Industry is also a broad term here - it includes traditional manufacturing, as well as services, sales, academia, government, etc. Therefore, for ANY bill which has either beneficial or harmful financial or regulatory implications there will be at least one lobby which benefits or which is harmed. Even if a divinely pure bill were to be received deus ex machina, there would still be industry winners and/or losers. Now, remember that the entire reason for the existence of a lobby is to effect policy change in favor of a lobby's interests. Therefore, even for the divinely pure bill, any post-hoc review looking for evidence of conspiracy and/or impropriety, will find circumstantial support for that in the activities of the lobby. Time will tell whether government-incentivized EHRs are a good or a bad thing and time will tell whether there was any impropriety between HIMSS and the Obama Administration. I'm just tired of yellow journalism. The appropriate and effective role of journalism in a societal system of checks-and-balances is as watchdog, whistleblower and disseminator, not carnival barker. Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

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