By Shu Zheng
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorizes approximately $544 billion in new spending and $275 billion in tax cuts. The purpose of this legislation is to stimulate the economy by preserving and creating jobs, helping the unemployed and uninsured, and assisting states with budget relief measures. The U.S. House of Representatives has just approved measures to expand access to affordable health care coverage for workers who become jobless because of the recession. It is estimated that this package will help 8.2 million people keep their health care coverage.
It is expected and predicted that millions of Americans will lose their jobs because of the recession. With these job losses they and their families will then become uninsured. This bill will enable states (through Medicaid programs) to provide immediate assistance to families like this while they search for new jobs. Other federal funding will be earmarked for hospitals, doctors, clinics, and pharmacies to enable them to meet their payroll requirements and continue to employ the staff necessary to care for the people who have lost their jobs.
Often these unemployed families are enduring economic crisis and any health condition may be enough to push them to bankruptcy. If middle-class Americans experience job and wage cuts and a loss of health insurance they may not be able to keep up with monthly expenses like mortgages and college tuitions. This bill will enable funding for families in dire need and will also enable coverage for everyone while in the process of the pursuit of comprehensive health reform.