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Renegade
12-06-2008, 08:23 PM
By Hans Nichols

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- President-elect Barack Obama said he’ll make the “single largest new investment” in roads, bridges and public buildings since the Eisenhower Administration to lift the sagging economy and create jobs.

Obama, in his weekly radio speech today, said his plan to create or preserve 2.5 million jobs will also include making public buildings more energy efficient, repairing schools and modernizing health care with electronic medical records.

“We won’t just throw money at the problem,” he said. “We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve -- by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.”

Obama spoke a day after a government report showed employers in the U.S. slashed 533,000 jobs last month, the biggest decline in 34 years. The losses are “another painful reminder of the serious economic challenge our country is facing,” Obama said.

The speech offered the first details of Obama’s job- creation program. He said the investment in infrastructure will be the largest since President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the interstate highway system a half-century ago.

“When Congress reconvenes in January, I look forward to working with them to pass a plan immediately,” he said. Obama takes office as the 44th president on Jan. 20.

Congressional Democrats

With the economy heading toward the longest and deepest recession since World War II, pressure is rising for a spending program that will create new jobs. Congressional Democrats have said they will send Obama an economic stimulus package as soon as he takes office. New York Senator Charles Schumer late last month put the size of such a program at between $500 billion and $700 billion.

In addition to investing in infrastructure, requiring energy standards on public buildings and updating health-care practices, Obama said that he will start a “sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings” and will boost broadband access across America.

To the states that will be the conduits for the funding, he had a simple message: “use it or lose it.”

“If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money,” he said.

Obama’s plan to make public buildings more energy efficient should reduce the government’s energy bill, which he called the highest in the world. He plans to replace heating systems and install energy-efficient light bulbs.

Internet Upgrade

Obama also plans to upgrade Internet infrastructure, calling it “unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption.”

Upgrading health care is the final component of the plan. By introducing new technology and electronic medical records, he said health-care workers could “prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”

Obama, in Chicago for the weekend, has no public events scheduled for today. Tomorrow, he will mark the anniversary of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor with a news conference in Chicago, according to a statement from his transition team.

Obama will announce his choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs at the news conference, according to a Democratic aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hans Nichols in Chicago at hnichols2@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: December 6, 2008 15:12 EST
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aBcPiaRqqffg&refer=home

jason
12-06-2008, 08:35 PM
More jobs that exist on the government side means more taxes needed to pay for it.

Sonny
12-07-2008, 12:29 PM
"and modernizing health care with electronic medical records."

This can't be good , kinda like digitizing all the blue prints for our nuclear warheads on a hard drive. Bad idea.

Soon they'll be assigning everyone a medical risk score based on your parents and grandparents collective medicalhistory's.

I can only see large insurance companies and very large self insured employers benefiting from instant access to your "medical rating score" based on your relatives past medical records, Of course such a thing is illegal. er, discrimination.

But not a problem considering how valuable such information would be worth to those willing to pay for it.

Misty
12-07-2008, 12:47 PM
Upgrading health care is the final component of the plan. By introducing new technology and electronic medical records, he said health-care workers could “prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.”

It's true that electronic medical records could save money and promote better healthcare. Having worked in a modern center where all the medical records were electronic, the efficiency was wonderful. No waiting for papers to be inserted in charts, no missing charts because some yo yo had checked them out for too long or took the one you needed to a meeting. All the information you needed to provide excellent care was right there at your fingertips.

The obvious downside is the potential for abuse of privacy. Lots of employees with passwords can take peeks at records which really don't concern them. The worse abuse I ever saw was when a department supervisor gave her password to a volunteer so that the volunteer could pass time playing around on the supervisor's computer. Guess what -- the volunteer was there for rehab from a drug and alcohol abuse program. This went on for weeks, I later found out. No one was ever punished. She should have lost her job. Just not the way things were handled there at that time.

Like most jobs involving computers, there are pluses and minuses.

leistb
12-07-2008, 01:55 PM
Modernizing the health care industry is not going to be accomplished simply by putting all records into an electronic format. This is fancy language designed to appeal to the gullibility of the general population to make it sound like something is actually being done that has meaning.

Why not take more meaningful measures such as capping malpractice judgments, significantly reduce the HMOs influence in medical decisions, reduce the influence or overall presence of drug company lobbyists, get the lawyers out of the medical business and let the doctors and researches do what they do best and practice medicine? At best, converting medical records to electronic format is going to create few jobs (relatively speaking) for those with an IT background and at worst a new cottage industry for bureaucrats to "oversee and administer". Not to mention the privacy issues outlined above.

BirdGuano
12-07-2008, 02:48 PM
More jobs that exist on the government side means more taxes needed to pay for it.

There aren't enough taxpayers alive to pay for all of these programs and the current fiscal mess.

Their ONLY option is to print.

Ben Franklin
12-07-2008, 03:07 PM
There really isn't much that can be done to save the system at this point ..... Obama's trying a Hail Mary pass. Good for him.

BirdGuano
12-07-2008, 03:20 PM
There really isn't much that can be done to save the system at this point ..... Obama's trying a Hail Mary pass. Good for him.

It's really not up to him, and he has VERY limited effect on the outcome.

But if it makes you feel better.........

leistb
12-07-2008, 03:25 PM
There really isn't much that can be done to save the system at this point ...

That's the spirit!!