Obama says $155m in health funding means jobs, too
"These health centers will expand access to care by helping people in need, many with no health insurance, obtain access to comprehensive primary and preventive healthcare services," Obama said. "That helps relieve the burden on emergency rooms across the country, which have become primary care clinics for too many who lack coverage, often at taxpayer expense.
According to the White House, Massachusetts will get $1.3 million, enough for 7,060 patients and 50 jobs. Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts said the Bay State money will go to North Shore Community Health Inc., which has centers in Salem and Peabody and plans to open one in Gloucester.
"This funding is a lifeline for the seniors, new and expectant parents, and families who depend on North Shore Community Health Center for their medical care," Kerry said in a statement.
The other New England totals: Connecticut, $1.3 million, 5,240 patients, 40 jobs; Maine, $2.6 million, 11,170 patients, 85 jobs; New Hampshire, $930,000, 2,100 patients, 15 jobs; Rhode Island, $2.4 million, 7,380 patients, 55 jobs; and Vermont, $1.3 million, 4,170 patients, 30 jobs.
Technically, it's true, since the bill would finish out the current federal fiscal year, which started last Oct. 1. But Senator John McCain, Obama's Republican presidential rival, is having none of it.
"That's insulting to the American people," McCain said on the Senate floor yesterday as he blistered Obama for agreeing to sign the bill, which the senator said includes "billions and billions of dollars of unneeded and wasteful spending."
McCain pointed out that Obama promised during their campaign to get rid of earmark spending as part of changing the culture of Washington. "So much for the promise of change," said McCain, who has tried for years to eliminate earmarks.
Asked about the issue yesterday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs replied, "We are regrettably dealing with leftover business," adding that Obama has "been clear about where he stands on this and what we'll do going forward to change the rules of the road."
Limbaugh gave a stemwinder of a speech Saturday, complete with chest thumping and fist bumps, imploring conservatives to stand by their principles. He made no apologies for his biting criticism of President Obama, including telling his listeners in January that "I hope he fails."
"What is so strange about being honest and saying I want Barack Obama to fail, if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation?" Limbaugh said at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Asked about Limbaugh's comments, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said yesterday that the question should be posed to Republicans: "Do they want to see the president's economic agenda fail?"
Besides the White House, Limbaugh is also in a spat with Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee.
"I'm the de facto leader of the Republican Party," Steele said on CNN's "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News" Saturday night. "Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer."
Limbaugh's show is sometimes "incendiary," Steele said. "Yes, it's ugly."