[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 27, 1991

Proposed Card, Intended to Facilitate Medical Billing, Record Keeping, Draws Mixed Reviews

JAMA. 1991;266(20):2804-2807. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470200014004

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS designed to cut health insurance red tape are, with caveats on confidentiality, generally thought to be a good way to reduce costs and hassles for patients and providers.

However, a proposal this month by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, MD, to give every insured person a credit card that would facilitate electronic billing and record keeping by containing the details of what the patient is and is not covered for, and to then call that a first step in health care reform, seems mostly to be fueling criticism of the Bush administration's approach to such reform.

"Not that it is a bad idea," says Sidney Wolfe, MD, director of Public Citizen Health Research Group, Washington, DC, but the potential savings "are a drop in the bucket of administrative waste. This does not improve access, it improves cash flow," he says.

The plan is "a