The rollout of ObamaCare has been plagued by problems these past two weeks, as thousands complained they couldn’t sign up for coverage due to a deeply defective website.


But this process could have been easier if a nine-year, government-backed effort to set up a system of electronic medical records had gotten off the ground. Instead of setting up their medical ID for the first time, would-be customers would have their records already on file.

Unfortunately for patients — and taxpayers — the long-running project has produced tangibly few results despite costing the government, so far, at least $30 billion.

Under a George W. Bush-era executive order, all Americans should have access to their medical records by the end of 2014, part of a concept referred to as e-health. President Obama then made electronic medical records (EMRs) central to the success of the Affordable Care Act

Health care IT providers were tasked with creating a system connecting patients, health care professionals, hospitals, laboratories and medical facilities. But despite being paid vast incentives by the government’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), they’ve dragged their feet.

Doctors have so far received $14 billion in sweeteners, and hospitals have been handed more than $16 billion. Officials indicate that incentives could eventually reach $45 billion, though there is no universally integrated system anywhere in sight.