ACORN Qualifies for Funding in Senate Health Care Bill

John McCormack
The Weekly Standard
December 21, 2009

Senator Roland Burris is claiming credit for a provision in Harry Reid’s “manager’s amendment,” unveiled Saturday morning, that could funnel money to ACORN through the health care bill.

On December 9, Burris, an Illinois Democrat, pledged that he would filibuster a health care bill without a public option. “If we have to get 60 and it comes back and it does not have a public option in it, I will not vote for it,” he said. Then early last week he said he could vote for the bill if there were changes made to achieve the goals of the public option: “until this bill addresses cost, competition, and accountability in a meaningful way—it will not win [my vote].”

Asked last night before the Senate voted why he was planning to support a bill without a public option, Burris said: “We have a great bill–the best we could get. And it also covers most of our concerns: competition, cost, and accountability.” But had anything specifically changed in the text of the bill that helped him change his mind? Burris told THE WEEKLY STANDARD: “It was the disparity provision that was put in, which we had something to do with, in terms of making sure that diabetes and the other diseases that are affecting minorities are really studied by HHS in all of these pilot programs.”

The provision he cites, found on pages 240 through 248 of the manager’s amendment, requires that six different agencies each establish an “Office of Minority Health.” The agencies are the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.”

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