House Appropriations Committee approves stimulus bill

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The House Appropriations Committee has approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the newest version of the economic stimulus package.

The bill will be reconciled with legislation on various components of the package being worked on by other committees, with the final package being placed in H.R. 1. 

According to the bill, the money will be used to update and computerize the U.S. healthcare system “to cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes and help reduce healthcare costs by billions of dollars each year.”

The bill allots:

  • $20 billion for healthcare IT “to prevent medical mistakes, provide better care to patients and introduce cost-saving efficiencies;”
  • $6 billion for broadband and wireless services in underserved areas to benefit healthcare, electronic commerce and education;
  • $4.1 billion to provide for preventive care and to evaluate the most effective healthcare treatments;
  • $1.5 billion for expanded jobs in biomedical research;
  • $1.1 billion to evaluate the most effective treatments;
  • $1 billion to renovate community health centers and expand their use of IT;
  • $600 million to train primary care providers;
  • $550 million to modernize Indiana Health Service facilities and upgrade their technologies; and
  • $40 million to upgrade the Social Security Administration's use of healthcare IT.