Earlier this week, the Nation uncovered the fact that Paul Ryan — who has voted with his party to repeal President Obama’s health care law over 30 times — requested Obamacare funds for his Wisconsin district in 2010. However, after the news broke that Ryan sought to fund a new community health center with federal money provided through health care reform, his campaign was quick to retort that grant program has nothing to do with supporting Obamacare because it was created under former President George W. Bush.
Bush did support federal grant programs for community health centers during his presidency. But the specific grant requested by Ryan is funded through Obamacare, which provides $11 billion to expand community health centers. When Ryan requested the funds in 2010, they represented money that Obama approved — under a law that Ryan has referred to as “Washington’s reckless spending spree.”
As the Huffington Post points out, it’s difficult to understand the distinction between Ryan’s support for Bush’s health care spending and his opposition to the exact same health care spending under Obamacare:
But the response from Ryan’s spokesman [Brendan Buck] also raises a question about the candidate’s philosophy on federal spending on health care: Why would he consider dollars approved by Bush to be a good use of money, but funds approved by Obama to be bad?
“Don’t dumb things down,” Buck suggested to HuffPost. “You think he’s opposed to all federal spending on health care? Health care spending makes up a significant portion of his budget.”
On the specific program in question, related to community health centers, Buck said Ryan was merely supporting a constituent. “It’s casework,” he said. “As a general principle he’s not going to turn away his constituents who come to him for help based on his own views of a program.”
Ryan is not alone in his hypocrisy. A laundry list of Republican lawmakers have suggested scrapping Obamacare only to replace it with the exact same health reform measures. When health care reform is acceptable under Republicans but unconstitutional under Obama, GOPers expose themselves as putting partisanship over policy.