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UPDATED: Democrats knock McDonnell for touting grants approved in federal health care law

Rosalind Helderman

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced Wednesday that Virginia has snagged $2 million in federal funding to improve care for elderly and disabled residents.

The federal grant money will help Medicare beneficiaries with their prescription drug coverage and improve wellness care for Medicare recipients. It also will assist those looking for community-based care options instead of nursing homes.

In a statement, McDonnell said the new money would be of "enormous aid in helping Virginians keep their loved ones in their home as long as possible and provide greater options for both aging adults and adults with disabilities."

What the statement does not mention is that the grant was approved by Congress as part of the new federal health care law. The White House distributed a parallel press release Wednesday announcing the $68 million grant program and touting it as one of the benefits of the new law.

McDonnell opposed the law and frequently cites it as an example of federal overreach by President Obama's administration. He also is supporting a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) challenging the law's constitutionality.

"Helping patients and their families better understand all of their long-term care options will help them make more informed decisions.These grants, made possible by the Affordable Care Act, will give patients and their families more control over their own care," said Kevin Hall, a spokesman for Sen. Mark Warner (D), who has taken substantial heat for his vote in favor of the measure.

To McDonnell, Hall said: "You're welcome."

McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said he had no comment.

UPDATE 7:26 p.m.: McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin responds:
"This money merely continues existing senior programs in Virginia that have consistently received federal funding. Some, but not all, of the funding in question this time around was included in the larger health care bill that contained the administration's health care reform provisions. The governor opposed federal health care reform, and still does. But he's not going to stop funding important programs for seniors and people with disabilities just to prevent Democrats from playing politics. That's the difference between Richmond and Washington. Down here, we actually are focused on getting things done."

By Rosalind Helderman  | October 6, 2010; 5:37 PM ET
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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McDonnell had NOTHING TO DO with getting that funding. It's he who is playing politics by taking credit for this while opposing the health care bill.

Posted by: franko2 | October 7, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

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