April 24, 2014

Clinic director says Ryan was always supportive

Wisconsin congressman and Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan sought money for his district through the Affordable Care Act. The director of a Kenosha clinic which sought the federal funding for an expansion to Racine said he’s not privy to the politics, but that the Janesville Republican has always been supportive.

Lee Fang, a blogger for The Nation, reported earlier this week that Ryan had sought money nearly two years ago through the Affordable Care Act for a community health center in Racine. Jack Waters is the executive director of the Kenosha Community Health Center, which had sought the federal grant money. “We approached the congressman,” said Waters. “We have had the congressman to our health center. We have met with him with regard to the work that we have done. I have always found the congressman to be supportive of the work that we have done.”

A spokesman for the Romney/Ryan campaign said the program Ryan supported originated in the 1960s, and that the Health Centers Program was initiated by President George W. Bush in 2006 as a continuation of that program. But the program was folded into the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Ryan has called for repeal of the law – which Republicans have derided as “Obamacare,” since before he was nominated as his party’s candidate for vice-president. “How the politics of it gets played out in regard to the Affordable Care Act, that I’m not as privy to,” said Waters. “But I am privy to his support of the community health centers, and the work that we do.”

In the end, despite Ryan’s support, the clinic in Racine did not open. “Unfortunately, we did not score high enough to receive grant funding,” explained Waters. “We will continue to pursue new Access Point grant opportunities as they come along, and we’re hopeful that some time in the future we will be fortunate enough to get that designation.”

Ryan‘s opponent in his bid to be reelected to his House seat weighed in on the issue in a press release. “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,” said the statement from businessman Rob Zerban.