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American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009 -- (House of Representatives - January 27, 2009)

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.

Last year, 2.6 million jobs were lost, and on Monday alone four American companies announced that they were laying off 37,000 employees. When workers lose their jobs, many also lose their health insurance. And for those lucky enough to keep their coverage, many end up delaying medical care because they choose to use their limited resources on groceries and other basic necessities. These families need help, and they will get it from this economic recovery package.

This bill makes important improvements to COBRA coverage so it is more affordable for workers who have been laid off. In addition, for those workers who have lost their job but are not eligible for COBRA coverage, the bill creates a new temporary Medicaid option that will be paid for entirely by the Federal Government. Combined, these provisions will help provide health coverage to over 8 million Americans over the next year.

In addition, this bill will provide States with urgent fiscal relief. Right now, almost every State is experiencing a budget crisis. Governors are struggling to find ways to close these budget gaps, and many governors are starting to look at scaling back on their Medicaid programs, just as more and more people are in need of Medicaid services.

This bill provides critical financial assistance so States are not forced to scale back their Medicaid programs and can continue to serve those in need.

We also make a significant investment in our economic future by investing $20 billion to help doctors and hospitals acquire and use health information technology. For years we have all been talking about the need to modernize our health care system, and this bill finally provides the means to do so. Not only does this legislation invest in our economy today, but it also makes our health care system safer and more efficient for years to come.

The recovery package answers the pleas from economists who said that we must act quickly and boldly, and it certainly deserves bipartisan support.

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