McClatchy Newspapers, March 24, 2011

The good doctor was frustrated. David Cull, MD, a prominent vascular surgeon in Greenville, SC, had invented a small valve system that could spare 300,000 dialysis patients across the country enormous suffering —and save American taxpayers billions of dollars in Medicare costs. Yet, Cull's hometown senator, Jim DeMint, refused to write a letter supporting the surgeon's application for a federal grant under the landmark healthcare bill that President Barack Obama signed into law a year ago this week. As a hardcore conservative with a growing national following, DeMint opposes most federal spending. Backing a doctor's grant application under the law—even from a constituent who lives in the same city as DeMint—would leave the senator open to charges of hypocrisy. And DeMint, who vowed in 2009 to make healthcare Obama's "Waterloo," is leading Republican efforts in Congress to repeal the law to provide medical coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans—or, if that can't be done, to deny it funding
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