More on Michelle Obama's Hospital Work
The Obama campaign continues to take issue with statements by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee, The Post's Joe Stephens reports.
Grassley yesterday wrote to the non-profit University of Chicago Medical Center seeking information about jobs held by Sen. Obama's wife and one of his best friends, and asking about a medical center program designed to steer patients with non-urgent complaints out of its emergency room and into local health clinics. In a statement, Grassley questioned whether the program was aimed at shedding patients who lacked insurance. Grassley's statement followed a Post article that last month reported on the program and Michelle Obama's work at the hospital.
Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt has now supplied The Post with this statement from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois):
"The fact that Sen. Grassley is questioning the work of the University of Chicago Medical Center -- especially those programs aimed at reducing emergency department overcrowding and promoting preventive health -- is troubling and shows that he simply doesn't understand the problems facing our hospitals today.
"Far too many of the 1.1 million people who live on Chicago's South Side depend on the emergency room for their primary medical care, rather than getting the health care they truly need. Residents of the South Side have rates of diabetes, asthma, hypertension and other debilitating chronic conditions that are as much as five times higher than the rest of Illinois. UCMC is providing more than $64 million a year in charity and unreimbursed care and has received high marks from everyone from community groups to the Illinois Attorney General for their efforts. I am proud to have helped secure federal funds in support of that work."
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