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Message from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the Second Anniversary of the Recovery Act

February 17, 2011

Today marks two years since President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  This historic law empowered the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help boost the nation’s economy, create or save jobs, maintain health care services, expand access to affordable health care, protect those in greatest need, and provide for the early care and education of young children.

The Recovery Act enabled the Department to help those hardest hit by the economic downturn gain access to health care. As we commemorate the Recovery Act’s second anniversary today, we celebrate these successes:

  • Over $84 billion in federal payments helped maintain state Medicaid services and provided fiscal relief when the number of people eligible for Medicaid grew during the economic downturn.
  • Over 3.2 million new patients, including 1.8 million uninsured patients, have received health care at a Community Health Center.
  • Starting on January 3, 2011, hospitals and eligible professionals began registering to receive Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records.  
  • The National Institutes of Health awarded over 20,000 grants for scientific research, including $178.5 million to the Cancer Genome Atlas project, a large-scale collaborative effort involving 15 premier research institutions creating a comprehensive map of the genomic changes involved in more than 20 common types of cancer.
  • Thirty-nine states, the District of Columbia, two territories, and eight tribes were awarded $1.3 billion from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund to support employment programs, including transitional jobs, summer job programs for low-income youth, and work programs for individuals with disabilities. 
  • More than 58,000 children and families have benefited from early childhood development services provided by Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
  • Over 7,800 American Indian and Alaska Native homes gained access to safe drinking water and adequate waste disposal facilities.
  • Forty-four communities, reaching over 50 million Americans, received over $370 million in grants to reduce obesity and reduce tobacco use by implementing evidence-based prevention and wellness strategies.
  • HHS has made program integrity a priority, and its employees are working hard to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.

While we celebrate these achievements, much more work remains ahead for both the Federal government and in communities across the country.  We must continue to push the boundaries of discovery and innovation today in order to build a healthier, better future for our children and ourselves.

Read more about the impact of the Recovery Act.