WASHINGTON (CNN) - Leaders of organizations representing America's doctors and senior citizens on Sunday defended proposals by President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders to overhaul the nation's ailing health-care system.
Appearing on "FOX News Sunday," Dr. J. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association, and John Rother of AARP - formerly the American Association of Retired Persons - called a comprehensive overhaul necessary. Their support is a reversal from past opposition to proposed health-care reform by both organizations.
Republican opponents have called health-care proposals so far too sweeping and unnecessary, but Rohack and Rother said the integration of the system requires a broad approach.
"There are some moving parts that if you just do one and don't do the other, you're going to have unintended consequences," said Rohack, head of the nation's largest doctors' advocacy group.
Rother, executive vice president of policy and strategy for the largest senior citizens' advocacy group, said properly addressing excessive health-care costs and waste requires addressing both health insurance coverage and how health-care treatment is delivered.
Both men rejected accusations that a health-care overhaul would bring rationing of health treatment based on bureaucratic measures such as cost and economic productivity of patients.
"There's a myth that rationing doesn't occur right now," Rohack said, noting that pregnancy can currently be denied for some health insurance coverage as a pre-existing condition.
"That's why this bill is so important," Rohack said. "It gets rid of rationing happening right now" and leaves decisions to patients and doctors.
Rother said the health-care overhaul will bring huge cost savings by eliminating waste and fraud in the system, including the Medicare program for senior citizens.
"We don't see rationing in this plan," he said. "What see are efficiencies that are going to improve care, not deny care."
Rohack also condemned claims by some Republicans that a provision in a bill before the House of Representatives would lead so-called "death panels" encouraging euthanasia of senior citizens.
"That's absolutely wrong, it's a falsehood," he said, adding that the provision was intended to provide government support for consultations between patients and their doctors.
Repeated spreading of the false "death panel" rumor by conservative commentators and some Republican politicians prompted emotional opposition at town hall meetings across the country.
Senate negotiators on a compromise bill say they have dropped the provision from their proposal due to potential misinterpretation of the intent.