A $100 million item for construction of a university hospital was inserted in the Senate health care bill at the request of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who faces a difficult re-election campaign, his office said Sunday night.
The legislation leaves it up to the Health and Human Services Department to decide where the money should be spent, although spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said Dodd hopes to claim it for the University of Connecticut.
The provision is included in a 383-page series of changes to the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., outlined Saturday. Scattered throughout are numerous items sought by individual lawmakers, many of them directing money explicitly to programs or projects in their home states.
The one sought by Dodd provides $100 million for "a health care facility that provides research, inpatient tertiary care, or outpatient clinical services." It must be affiliated with an academic health center at a public research university in the United States "that contains a State's sole public academic medical and dental school."
The money can cover a maximum of 40 percent of the facility's construction costs.
Based on the criteria set out on the bill, it appeared that state-affiliated hospitals in about a dozen states could compete for the funds.
Dodd has played a key role in development of the health care bill in the Senate. He wielded the gavel earlier in the year when the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee spent weeks drafting its version of the measure. The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was chairman at the time, but unable to preside.
Dodd, who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, is seeking a new term in 2010, but polls so far show him in a tight race.