Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on February 17, 2009. President Obama signed the act into law four days later. A direct response to the economic crisis of 2008, the Recovery Act had three immediate goals: to create new jobs and save existing ones, to spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth and to foster more accountability and transparency in government spending.
The law directed about $150 billion in new funds to the healthcare industry. It included $87 million for Medicaid, $24.7 billion to subsidize private health insurance for people who lose or have lost their jobs, $19.2 billion for health information technology, and $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The act also provided $650 million to support prevention and wellness activities targeting obesity, smoking, and other risk factors for chronic diseases as well as $500 million for health professions training programs, including $300 million to revitalize the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).