Jason Rogers of San Antonio, Texas: "Four years ago my father was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. After 18 months, we fought that disease with everything we had. Under a public option or government-run health care system, would that type of care be possible? Is it something that 10 years from now we're going to have to sacrifice or come up with a tremendous amount of cash to pay for it because it would be rationed under our government-run health care system?"
Get the facts and the verdict after the jump:
There is no explicit reference in any version of the legislation to rationing health care and the White House said it doesn't intend to institute a rationing policy. "There are a number of different bills making their way through Congress right now, but we do know this: The reform bill that the president signs will not lead to rationing. It will be fully paid for and it will bring down costs over the long term," the White House said.
But despite the administration's intent, some skeptics believe costs could rise and that shortfalls would create the environment for rationing.
The Cato Institute, a public policy research center, said in a report in June that when Medicare Part A was launched in 1965, the government estimated it would cost about $9 billion per year. But Cato said that by 1990, the cost was closer to $67 billion.
It also said that when the Massachusetts Commonwealth Care was put into place in 2006, it was expected to cost about $725 million annually, but the expected cost for 2009 is almost $1 billion. But Massachusetts officials dispute the Cato figures, saying that the program actually will have cost about $800 million for the 2009 fiscal year when all claims are processed.
"The Congressional Budget Office estimates that existing government health programs would require income-tax rates to rise as high as 66 percent by mid-century," said Michael F. Cannon, Cato's director of health policy studies. "President Obama's new entitlements would require even higher taxes. American voters will not tolerate tax rates that high. Since the government will be the only entity with any incentive to control costs - patients and health-care providers will all be spending other people's money - the government will have to ration care."
President Barack Obama on August 14 spoke at a town hall meeting in Belgrade, Montana, where he raised the issue of rationing in discussing the elimination of "waste and inefficiencies" in Medicare.
"So what we've proposed is not to reduce benefits - benefits on Medicare would stay the same - it's not to ration. What we are asking is that we eliminate some of the practices that aren't making people healthier."
Speaking on August 15 at a town hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado, Obama shot back at the claims by some opponents of reform that the administration is trying to ration care.
"Well, that's what's going on right now," Obama said about rationing and restrictions. "It's just that the decisions are being made by the insurance companies."
The White House's health-care reform reality check Web page says reform will stop rationing, not increase it.
Kavita Patel - who works with White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and worked as a physician - says on that page that the administration wants to combat rationing by insurance companies.
"We want to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions are not denied coverage," she says. "That happens - right now, as we speak. People get kicked out of their insurance plans because they have increased medical costs and they're deemed to be unworthy of coverage. We need to make sure that those people, people like you and me, also have access in case we do get sick, and in case we do lose our jobs, and in case we do need to change from one employer to another."
In dispute. The Obama administration doesn't intend to ration health care, but critics fear that high costs could set the stage for rationing.