Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stimulus package a vote away from becoming a law

WASHINGTON – The House voted Friday afternoon to approve the final version of the $787 billion economic stimulus bill by a 246-183 vote, according to CNN reports.

A final Senate vote was expected by Friday evening, leaving the bill awaiting only President Barack Obama's signature to become law. Obama has said he would like to sign the law in a televised ceremony on Monday.

According to CNN, no House Republicans voted in favor of the bill, and seven Democrats voted against it.

The bill will need three Republican votes to pass in the Senate. Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Sen. Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania are expected to support the bill.

The bill is loaded with money for healthcare reform and the advancement of healthcare IT. It includes $19 billion for healthcare IT and more than $100 billion for healthcare measures including funding to help beef up state Medicaid coffers and subsidies to help unemployed workers afford healthcare coverage through COBRA.

"The economic stimulus package represents a significant step forward for the advancement of healthcare in the United States," said Harry Greenspun, chief medical officer for Perot Systems. "These funds should significantly advance patient safety and care while creating good paying jobs in the health IT sector, especially if we can achieve the goal of developing an electronic health record of every American."

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