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Bachmann defends Medicaid funds to spouse’s clinic

ST. PAUL — Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is deflecting questions about federally subsidized health dollars that have flowed to her husband’s mental health clinic.

As the tea party hero tours the nation attacking the size of federal government, the Minnesota congresswoman has come under heightened scrutiny about public dollars flowing to family business interests. That includes $137,000 that Bachmann and Associates has received for treating patients in Medicaid-backed programs.

Mrs. Bachmann’s press secretary, Alice Stewart, said Wednesday in a statement that it “would be discriminatory” for the clinic to turn away Medicaid patients. She says Marcus Bachmann’s business has the responsibility to provide the care “regardless of a patient’s financial situation.”

Neither Bachmanns would respond to questions about the arrangement during a campaign stop in South Carolina.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.