Earlier this week, Congressman Michael Grimm proudly announced a $3 million annual increase in federal spending to the Richmond University Medical Center. However, the funding appears to have come from the health care reform bill that Mr. Grimm adamantly opposes and voted to repeal.
“I have worked tirelessly, from day one, to address the issue of a looming physician shortage,” Mr. Grimm said a statement touting the new funding. “[T]his announcement to reward RUMC with additional residency slots is welcomed news.”
The Staten Island Advance echoed this sentiment, reporting Mr. Grimm “helped the hospital obtain the cash.”
The Graduated Medical Education funding in question, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website, actually appears to have come from the Affordable Care Act. Sure enough, in a spreadsheet posted on the site listing the GME funding increases from Section 5506 of the bill, RUMC’s provider number, 330028, is listed as receiving 31.44 extra slots for new medical residents, the exact amount, rounded up, as the 32 slots Mr. Grimm announced.
However, Mr. Grimm voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have removed the 5506 funding.
“Whether Obamacare is repealed or not, I have always supported Graduated Medical Education,” Mr. Grimm said in a statement to The Politicker when asked for comment. “This is not a political issue; it’s about ensuring that Staten Islanders continue to have access to physicians and high quality health care.”
Indeed, Mr. Grimm sponsored a bill last June to increase physicians in hospitals, although it appears to have been stuck in committees since.
Democrats privately told The Politicker Mr. Grimm’s announcement has hypocritical health care echoes similar to a previous controversy where Mr. Grimm asked the New York Daily News, “What am I, not supposed to have health care?” while again vowing to repeal Obamacare. “God forbid I get into an accident and I can’t afford the operation,” he had added.
In his 2010 campaign, Mr. Grimm had made the repeal of the controversial health care bill one of his signature issues, and charged that his Democratic opponent’s position, voting against the legislation but opposing its repeal, was insufficient.