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Article
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

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Abstract

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

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