It remains unclear after President Barack Obama’s interview with Fox News last night if $100 million for the University of Connecticut hospital expansion is still in the national health care reform bill.
When asked if the money for Connecticut was still in the bill Obama told Fox News’ Bret Baier, “So that’s not — that’s not going to be something that is going to be in this final package.”
Later in the interview Baier again asked about the money for Connecticut and Obama replied: “Connecticut— what are you specifically referring to?” When Baier specified, Obama responded by saying, “as I said before, this — the final provisions are going to be posted for many days before this thing passes.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, who is not seeking re-election, has said many times that the $100 million is not an earmark for Connecticut. He has said it’s a competitive grant that Connecticut and nearly 13 other states will have the opportunity to bid on, once the bill is passed.
Earlier this week, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell who has said the hospital expansion in Farmington is contingent on the $100 million in federal funds said her support for the federal money is not an endorsement of national health care reform.
Following a Bond Commission meeting on Tuesday Rell said “it could be a stand alone bill, it doesn’t have to be part of another bill.” She said everyday at the state legislature pieces of bills are separated out and voted on separately.
“Frankly it is not an earmark in that bill. It is actually a grant application that we have to apply for. So it doesn’t have to be in the health care bill, it can be a grant application along with another kind of legislation,” Rell said.
When asked if she talked to Dodd about pulling the $100 million out of the health care legislation and doing it separately Rell responded, “I think he knows full well it doesn’t have to be in any particular bill.“
“It could be in the jobs bill since it’s not an earmark it is absolutely a grant,” Rell said. “I don’t think I have to remind him of that.”
Dodd’s office was not immediately available for comment Thursday morning.