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Paul Ryan Sought Obamacare Funding for Health Clinic

Even though he's pushing for the repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act, a report says Republican vice presidential nominee requested money from the law to help a Racine clinic.

Like most Republican candidates in this fall's election, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is adamant about calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."

But a report published Wednesday said Ryan didn't have a problem nearly two years ago asking for federal ACA money to establish a neighborhood health clinic in Racine.

In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services in December 2010, Ryan asked officials for due diligence in reviewing a grant application from the Kenosha Community Health Center to establish similar medical services in Racine, according to a story from Lee Fang at TheNation.com.

Ryan recommended approval to “serve both the preventative and comprehensive primary healthcare needs of thousands of new patients of all ages who are currently without health care.”

Both Kenosha and Racine are communities in Ryan's 1st Congressional District.

In his letter obtained by The Nation and The Investigative Fund through an open records request, Ryan recognizes the need for a neighborhood medical clinic in Racine.

"Please note that target area includes census tracts ranking amongst the poorest and most-medically underserved in the State of Wisconsin," the letter said. "I am hopeful that the new proposed clinic will address the unmet needs of Racine's low-income and uninsured residents by offering access to medical, dental and mental health care."

Romney/Ryan campaign call report 'misinformation'

However, Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the Romney/Ryan campaign, pointed out in an email to Patch that the Health Centers Program as initiated by President George W. Bush in 2006 was a continuation of the original programs begun and kept alive since the war on poverty began in the 1960s.

"This grant program was created by President Bush, not Obamacare. Some misinformation and gotcha reporting from a liberal blog," he wrote.

Yet, according to information Buck provided, Bush's program expired in 2008, with final funding provided in Fiscal Year 2009. The Health Centers Program was then folded into the ACA in 2010. That means a repeal of the law, unless a contingency plan is put in place, would de-fund clinics like the one for which Ryan was recommending support.

When asked about that scenario, he responded: "Clearly funding for health clinics existed before Obamacare."

Ryan is clear on repeal of Obamacare

Ryan’s 2010 request for federal funding is a sharp contrast from the many statements he has made repealing the ACA. at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Ryan made his position clear.

“The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over,” he said. “That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare.”

As Fang points out in his story, community health clinics all over the country have been funded with money from Obamacare and would fold without that support. Some $9.5 billion in funding for existing health centers and $1.9 billion to build new ones like the one proposed in Racine is part of the law.

“The Wisconsin congressman’s promise to repeal Obamacare would undermine the law’s five-year plan to rapidly grow the health clinic system in America by withdrawing the necessary funds,” he wrote. “The so-called Ryan Budget plan would also decimate other federal support for health clinics, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.”

Zerban takes aim at Ryan

While most of the spotlight is now on Ryan as a vice presidential candidate, he is also running a race to keep his seat in the 1st District back home. Democrat Rob Zerban, who is challenging Ryan, issued a statement Wednesday slamming Ryan for his stance.

"In his own words, Paul Ryan acknowledges that there are people of this district in desperate need of quality, preventative health care and treatment. Yet he continues to promote policies that would deny life-saving care — placing partisan politics over the needs of Wisconsin's middle class families. That's wrong,” Zerban said.

“From his radical budget that ends traditional Medicare, to his support for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and Big Oil, Paul Ryan has failed to provide the middle class with opportunity, health care, and a fair tax system," Zerban added.

Mary K. Wakefield, an administrator with HHS, responded to Ryan's letter in January 2012, and assured Ryan the Kenosha Community Health application would get a full and fair review.

"I appreciate your support of the Health Center Program and your commitment to underserved populations in Wisconsin," she wrote.

Patch does have a message into Ryan's legislative office about the potential for alternative funding for the Health Centers Program if the ACA is repealed.

We will update this story when we get more information.

Bren September 07, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Mr. Hoffa, all wars are based in opportunism, I am convinced. WWI and WWII required action/intervention as longtime European allies and American interest/security were threatened. The road to Vietnam was based on the U.S.'s alliance with WWII ally France; the evolving Cold War and the emergence of Soviet influence/communism in northern Vietnam. What started as American advisers in that country denigrated into military action as the situation deteriorated. Remember too that technological advances made long-range missile strikes on the contiguous United States possible, that provided a rationale for working to diminish Soviet influence (e.g. Korea). The road to Iraq was paved with lies, debunked prior to the invasion. There's the difference. TGMBC is an amazing film!
mau September 07, 2012 at 06:48 PM
A blast from the past. The liar was Clinton. Clinton Iraq has abused its last chance BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS December 16, 1998 WASHINGTON CNN From the Oval Office, President Clinton told the nation Wednesday evening why he ordered new military strikes against Iraq. The president said Iraqs refusal to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors presented a threat to the entire world. Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons, Clinton said. http://articles.cnn.com/1998-12-16/us/9812_16_clinton.iraq.speech_1_weapons-inspectors-united-nations-special-commission-biological-weapons?_s=PM:US
mau September 07, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Off topic. Were you at Mocha Lisa this morning? My husband does not like green beans either until I took fresh green beans from the garden, left them long but snipped the end, and put them over the top of a beef roast during the last 20 minutes of cooking time. I make my roasts on the gas grill in a blue specked roasting pan with the cover on along with potatoes. All I season with is grape seed oil and salt. The beans picked up the flavor from all the sizzling in the roaster.
James R Hoffa September 07, 2012 at 07:16 PM
@Bren - Even if you believe that Iraq was all about oil, does the US not have a vested interest in assuring the free flow of oil from the Middle East? Remember how disruptive the OPEC embargo of the '70's was on our economy? So isn't the interest in oil alone more than enough to justify our involvement in Iraq? Or does your non-union built Toyota Camry run on rainbows and sunshine?
Bydand76 September 08, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Canned green beans are awesome Fresh green beans are butt nasty.... Except when served with asparagus! ;-)

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