August 16th, 2009
11:20 AM ET
5 years ago

Doctors', seniors' advocacy groups defend health-care overhaul

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.


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Reformed Republican

    I'll bet those "Dick" Armey followers had their heads explode when they heard on the ClusterFOX Network that what Obama and the dems are fighting for is good for them and America...

    August 16, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. New Day

    I think that we will get a health-care overhaul bill this year. If you are pro-health care reform and you saw the Colorado town hall meeting, you can't help but feel optimistic.

    August 16, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Kate in SW Fla

    All the "players" want reform, even Insurance Companies. What they DON"T want is the Public Option. I agree that it is probably dead. But I also think that the reform will happen. I think the Republicans are calling "victory" too soon. All those in favor of reform have sat back and allowed the "crazies" to talk and get attention. Now, cooler heads, those who actually know what they are talking about will start to take the lead, and I think reform will pass.

    August 16, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. Corporate Fascists have taken over our country

    Armey is just another Texas wannabe cowboy mouthpiece for Corporate Fascism.

    August 16, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. zap01

    If this don't pass, I better not hear one complaint from anyone that was apposed to it 10 yrs from now when healthcare takes 1/2 their payxheck.

    August 16, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Lets move forward

    It appears all of the craziness the Party of NO and Silly Sarah are spreading will actually backfire. Now there are more major players like the AMA and AARP that are coming forward to help confirm all the lies being spewed.

    August 16, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Dan

    AARP and the AMA have a conflict of interest; they sell insurance and what to make huge profits at the expenses of seniors and families!

    August 16, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. pat c

    THANK GOD smart professionals and inteligent people are starting to speak out for this change we so desparately need in america. thank GOD intelliagence rises to the top and people are now seeing an hearing that president obama's plan is not only good for america but a MUST if we want to stay competitive in the world markets.
    i DO so hope the GOP and especially glen ignorant beck and evil sarah palin choke on the success of this president! [oh an lets not leave out cry baby hannity,limpbough,lets just throw in the intire FAUX news channel while we are at it]
    god bless president obama and god bless america!!

    August 16, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. rasabu

    I can't help but think that if Hillary Clinton were in the White House this whole debacle would not have happened. After what she went through in the early 90's and then being int he US Senate, President Obama should have been consulting her on how to handle this issue. This became the debacle it did because President Obama left the decision making to the dysfunctional congress. He should have had a plan in place and offered it to the American people through town hall meetings. Then, he would have been in charge of the debate. People could have discussed the pros and cons and amended the proposal as needed. Legislators could have taken it back to the public through town halls in their districts so people could have had the final say. Then, we would truly have a solid piece of legislation. Chalk this one up to the mistakes of a newbie. Let's get a proposal on the table-one that offers coverage to low income people, those with pre-existing conditions, streamlines the medical provider's paperwork, increases the cost of care for those over 70 who are on Social Security and Medicare but have incomes over $200,000. There should be a sliding scale for Medicare costs and this can pay for part of the care for the indigent. Competition is not the only answer to reducing the cost of care. Wealthy Americans who receive Medicare must start to anti up and pay into the system. Otherwise, the system will go broke.

    August 16, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. shirley baxter

    I'm tired of hearing about the death clause which is a false name.I want to hear what is in the republican plan, which hopefully will be a non complex plan that will not only cut cost of all facets of health care but will give every American the same type of care.
    President Obama is trying to accomplish this but it is a huge job and all senators and representatives should be doing their best to work with him and maybe the republicans can add a a way to keep us from making a government ran program and stop worrying about tort reform and see the big picture that the uninsured are taking up the cost of health care up.
    Sunday 's coverage was more informative and this is a time in our history that every American should be informed. I think that the best way for this to happen is through the media and I hope that all components of the news can step forward and help our country in this way. Thank you for helping Shirley

    August 16, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Health carereform is good. Govenment take over is bad!!!!!

    August 16, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Annie, Atlanta

    Republicans call "health care proposals far too sweeping and unnecessary." Are they serious? Does anyone get the impression that we've been through this before (like every time a Democrat is in the White House)? They surely protest too much, I think!

    If reform succeeds, the GOP will be less relevant than they are today. Their success, sadly, depends totally on the failure of President Obama in every way, which means the failure of our great country in the process. And it's obvious they will do anything to achieve this. They're in "win at all costs" mode along with big insurance, and the American people will be the losers. Of course I don't expect the right wing fringe to understand this concept. They can't see reason when they're in win whatever it takes combat mode. It would be almost comical if people weren't dying and losing everything they have because of soaring health care costs.

    August 16, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Alan

    From Dan, August 16th, 2009 11:54 am ET:

    "AARP and the AMA have a conflict of interest; they sell insurance and what to make huge profits at the expenses of seniors and families!"

    I won't go into AMA's position in this - but what are you talking about when you claim AARP is making "huge profits at the expense of seniors and families?" Are you aware that AARP is a NON-PROFIT? Are you aware they offer some of the lowest-cost group insurance rates through third parties you'll find anywhere?

    And - are you aware the "conflict of interest" you mentioned, if you are correct, should have these two organizations FIGHTING healthcare reform big-time - but they just came out in SUPPORT of it?

    August 16, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Concerned Doctor

    Health care reform is good. Govenment take over is bad. Most american are not convinced that Obama knows how to pay for it and what if the "plan" he propose is not enough to pay for the new plan. Are we suppose to have money first before we can spend?

    August 16, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Keith in Austin

    To Let's Move Forward:

    YOU and those like you are hate-filled idiots! Always the blamegame and spewing your disgust toward those objecting to Libs and their socialistic programs Moving Forward????? You obviously stand to gain much from the free government handouts! For your information, The AARP and AMA are NOT organizations representing the majority of Seniors and Physicians but rather, joined at the hip with the DNC and their liberal agenda! Stop eating your free government cheese,drinking Obama Kool Aide and cashing foodstamps!
    People like YOU are soooo pathetic!!! Sooner or later you need to get a job and realize what it's like to build wealth and then have it taken from you! Read the book, Mein Kamph and educate yourself to what radical socialism can lead to before spouting your bleeding heart,poor pitiful me jibberish OK!

    August 16, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Joe Independent

    I hope that most people are starting to see through the "death panel" carziness and starting to look at what the bill will provide. The insurance companies are already restrincting health care. They can change a doctors prescription by ordering a generic drug or a different drug if they so choose.

    They currently get between a patient and a doctor by telling them what procedures they can do and which ones have to go to their Call Centers to be approved or denied.

    Health care costs are taking up an increasing share of our paychecks and there isn't any controls or an end in sight.

    August 16, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. jules sand-perkins

    I don't want President Obama to tax me to pay for somebody else's health care, just as those who would benefit from my being taxed don't want to consider their being taxed to pay for my house or car.
    My alternative health-care plan: let's all go Dutch.

    August 16, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. big papa

    I'm sorry but...

    ...intellectually and emotionally unstable people...

    ...who continue to vote into public office the likes of : Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Chuck Grassley, Mitch Mcconnel, Jean Schmidt et al...

    ...and listen to and follow the directives of Fox, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck (to name a few)...

    ...have NO BUSINESS being empowered to decide the nation's health care system...

    ...Nov. '08 made this perfectly clear...

    ...so NO MATTER WHAT trumped up polls the corporate owned media throw in our faces...

    ...Health Care Reform (with a strong public option) WILL BE the law of the land come Fall!

    ...or God help this country...

    August 16, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. ROGER

    Reps. want to see the market self correct, to allow competition to bring down costs, and for the insurance companies to voluntarily provide coverage at a reasonable rate regardless of illness or pre existing problems. Didn't we hear this back in the nineties? Hasn't worked yet. Didn't we hear this with regard to the economy? Didn't work there either! Reps are so out of touch with reality, you can understand where Palin gets her ideas from.

    August 16, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    AARP and the AMA trying to PROTECT senior citizens by NOT allowing those who most depend upon medical professionals to be used as pawns for political gain?

    What a refreshing concept . . .

    August 16, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. BelieveIt WhenYouSeeIt

    Great news if the "public-option" is scrapped.. but will it just be called a different name like"public cooperative"??? Who believes what a politician says??? Let's see it in writing

    Wouldn't it be great to see the savings of ObamaCare FIRST, then add the uninsured as savings are realized??? Of course, this is like "securing the borders first, then amnesty for all."

    August 16, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. jayel

    FOX is going to get an earful from Rush for not deleting this segment off the air.

    August 16, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. MJF

    Why is no one upset about Obama's plan to finance health care for "others' with funds saved by eliminating waste and fraud in medicare? Shouldn't these savings go right back into benefits for those who paid for them and those who are still paying into a system the government is calling bankrupt.

    August 16, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. Aunt Bea and Opie

    200,000 people die each year from mistakes made by hospitals,doctors, and nurses that have had mommy and daddy pay pay for their med degree.Plus all the insourced doctors that got their degree from Bigbox mart.

    August 16, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Dean

    I would suggest that those who are backing the Obama proposed plan actually obtain a copy of the plan-it is available on-line- and read it and see the part that pertains to benefits limits that are actually tied to the inflation index and other points that are in question that probably will lead to rationing and long waits for medical attention. For once be informed about an issue and not just listen to partisan comments from both sides.

    August 16, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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