Like many Republicans, freshman Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) campaigned for office last year on a promise to repeal health reform. He accused his Democratic opponent, Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN), of attempting a “smoke-and-mirrors ploy to implement socialized medicine.” And once joining Congress, DesJarlais voted to repeal the entire bill.
However, only four months into office, DesJarlais’ office appears to be touting a successful health reform program. According to the Crossvile Chronicle, a representative from DesJarlais’ district office was on hand last week for a groundbreaking ceremony to hand over nearly $4.5 million in grant money — entirely funded by the Affordable Care Act — for the construction of a community health clinic in Cumberland County, Tennessee. Gregg Ridley, a staffer for DesJarlais, even posed for a photo-op with a gaint ceremonial check to local officials to take credit for making the grant possible. Crossville Chronicle reporter Gary Nelson took a photo of the check. View it below:
ThinkProgress’ request for comment from DesJarlais’ office was not returned.
In addition to ending insurance company abuses, expanding coverage to 30 million people, and reining in individual health insurance market, the Affordable Care Act provides grants for community health clinics across the country. The $4,495,730 grant touted by DesJarlais’ staff is part of round of health reform funding that was announced last year.
Earlier this year, ThinkProgress filed Freedom of Information Act requests and discovered that several other anti-health reform politicians have quietly lobbied for health reform grants. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) asked for nearly $1 million in doctor training grants from the law. Meanwhile, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) sent a letter to the Obama administration asking for health reform money he called “critical” for his rural constituents.