September 15th, 2009
05:40 PM ET
5 years ago

Republicans warn of rationing for disabled children

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Surrounded by a group of parents clutching pictures of their special needs children, two Republican members of Congress stood in front of the Capitol on Tuesday and warned that President Obama's proposed health care system will lead to a rationing of care for children with disabilities.

GOP Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said at a news conference that government-run health care systems, wherever they exist in the world, inevitably force health providers to refuse care to people with chonically-ill family members in order to reduce costs. Both members of Congress said the issue hits close to home: McMorris-Rodgers has a son with Down Syndrome, and Franks was born with a cleft palate.

"Whenever there is pressure on government to cut costs, and that is ostensibly the purpose here, the reality is a lot of times the doctors take their hands off the situation," Franks said. He also predicted that the president's health care legislation will lead to "the largest expansion of abortion since Roe vs. Wade."

The two Republicans then heard from nearly a dozen parents who claimed that their disabled children would be discriminated against under the Democratic plan. Several pointed out that the President's health care adviser Ezekiel Emanuel - brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and a frequent target of the presidential plan's critics - has written articles in the past in support of rationing care. Emanuel has since said his thinking has changed on the matter.


McMorris-Rodgers could not point to any specific language in the legislation currently before Congress that would deny health care to disabled children, but she said she and the families were worried that a government-run health insurance plan would give power to a government bureaucrat who would be able to decide whether or not "certain procedures or certain devices" would be covered for individuals.

The independent fact-checker PolitiFact wrote last month that there "is no panel in any version of the health care bills in Congress that judges a person's 'level of productivity in society' to determine whether they are 'worthy' of health care."

Asked if she could elaborate specific proposals to help low-income people with disabled family members purchase health insurance, McMorris-Rodgers said she supports tax breaks and savings accounts for affected families. The congresswoman co-sponsored a bill to create such accounts in February.


Filed under: GOP • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Mark S.

    The R's have nothing else to fall back on but lies. Worked getting us into Iraq. Maybe it will work keeping us from getting healthcare reform.

    September 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. Melissa

    Load of crap. Republicans, grow up.

    September 15, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. John Smith

    Preying on the fears of families with disabled children is as low as you can go.Have you people lost any sense of decency?

    September 15, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. Kentucky

    OK, Obama, call them out.

    September 15, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. Erik - Belgium

    I live in a country that happens to have socialized health care and this:

    "GOP Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona and Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington said at a news conference that government-run health care systems, wherever they exist in the world, inevitably force health providers to refuse care to people with chonically-ill family members in order to reduce costs."

    is an outright LIE. I have been disabled since birth and never have I been refused any treatment.

    Shame on these people for spreading such vile misinformation on countries the United States are supposedly on good terms with.

    September 15, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. ttbala

    isn't there any kind of law in this country that prohibits lawmakers to stand and make false comments to mislead the american people, isn't there any law that prohibits lawmakers to outright lie to the public, where do we live for crying out loud GOP enough is enough.

    September 15, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Typical Republican

    ok, this is just too much. I just read up on another thing this health care reform will do. It's going to euthanize all elephants because it's the republican mascot. Save the elephants, vote no on this health care reform.

    September 15, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. Proud Member..Party of No

    "Emanuel has since said his thinking has changed on the matter."

    And when did Ezekiel "Dr. Mengele" Emanuel's mind change? Hmmmm, oh yeah, as soon as people had time to read the democrat bill and realized how awful it is.

    September 15, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. TkBaldwin

    What many seem to forget is that the for-profit insurance companies are already "rationing" care far more than a public option would. Does no one out there remember the teenage girl in California who died because her insurance refused to cover her transplant surgery (at least until 1 hour before she died– a bit late to my mind!)?

    September 15, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. Steph

    While the Republicans are out lying to parents of disabled children...Bernanke announces the recession is ending and the stock market is up AGAIN today.

    Keep making yourselves irrelevant Republicans. The adults are busy solving real problems.

    September 15, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. Cindy

    omg, Republicans... please stop this. It's so embarrassing.

    When did this change? When did the cause of supporting the sick, elderly and disabled switch to the Republican Party?

    Ted Kennedy is rolling his eyes in heaven...

    September 15, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  12. T'SAH from Virginia

    OMG!! First the Party of NO talked about Grandmas; then illegal aliens; ALIENS (lol); death panels and now handicap children?????? Why in the world would a REFORM health care plan eliminate Handicap children?????? That is so much BULL because NOW, they have HEALTH CARE for ALL children and there is NO stipulation that says "handicap children' are exempt!!!!

    Next, the REPUBLI-CAN'Ts would say the bill will EXCLUDE children born by children, tall people over 7 ft, short people under 4 ft, people with 4 fingers, people with 1 foot, black-hair people, red heads, people that disrupt the MTV awards show, JUST PEOPLE!!! lol

    September 15, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. LacrosseMom

    MORE LIES from the Party of LIES, hate, fear and division.

    Disgusting.

    September 15, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  14. ran

    More fear hate and obstructionism from the GOP.

    Democrats the GOP will not support any health care reform bill so why not just do it any way you can. Just give us single payer non-profit universal health care now. Then go on to energy and immigration.

    September 15, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. Judith Korff

    What amazes me is the number of people in this country who'll believe this nonsense and join the next Tea Party or March on Washington or whatever protest somebody devises to cause more trouble among our citizenry. The good thing about the internet is that more information is available to everyone. The bad thing about the internet is that more disinformation is available to everyone.

    September 15, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    So now they are following their quasi leader, the quitter from Alaska, and they sound even more stupid than she does.
    Using special needs kids for your political gain. Can the repugs sink any lower?
    Never mind, yes, they can!

    September 15, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. JR

    The republicans are having a feeding frenzy on the stupidity and fears of these poor people. Sick and wrong.

    September 15, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. Susan WA State

    First it was old people, now it's special needs children. I guess they can queue up Palin now. I'm the mother of a special needs child and I don't have any fear that health care reform is going to result in anything negative for him.

    And I love this part – "McMorris-Rogers could not point to any specific language in the legislation currently before Congress..." – but I guess her Ouija board told her or she used the force to conjure up that special needs children will be sacrificed next. It just keeps getting more and more like an SNL skit.

    September 15, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. Kate in SW Fla

    They HAVE no decency. Government run health care – like Medicaid and SCHIP? Really? I think I have seen everything now. Fear mongering, of the worst, lowest caliber.

    September 15, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. Darth Vadik, CA

    I just love it when republicans talk out of their behinds.
    Do you people ever check facts or just listen to what the fat man on drugs is going to say that day?

    September 15, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Lesley

    Read my lips: there is no government take over of health care in any of the bills moving through congress! Right on @ Christian Values.

    September 15, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. D. Tree

    Can the Republicans stoop any lower? Now they are using disabled Children as political props? The GOP will never regain power at this rate.

    September 15, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Vick

    Here we go again. More scare tactics. This is really getting old.

    September 15, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. What's up

    Here we go...

    Nothing but FEAR, FEAR, FEAR, FEAR, FEAR...

    Americans LOVE to stay afraid of everything and anything. They repeatedly ALLOW the GOP to prey on their common decency. They buy into all the FEAR MONGERING without every doing any homework themselves!!! It's just beyond STUPID.

    What's next? Is the GOP going to tell them to jump off the cliff? I guess it's NO wonder Jim Jones could easily convince hundreds of folks to drink cyanide.

    Its no wonder the rest of the world view Americans as STUPID and GULLIBLE. You need Healthcare Reform, but you are killing your own chances of based on publicized FEAR and LIE mongering by Republicans!!!

    September 15, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. Citizen

    They are using their children with disabilities for political gain. The Medicare and Medicaid social services and health care system does take care of children and adults with disabilities. These Republican politicians are just too much! Are they the same who prefer institutionalization to community and family for people with disabilities? The Republicans are the ones who have consistently voted against any measure to improve the lives and welfare of children and adults with disabilities. They are the rationers – they want to ration benefits of citizenship according to free market principles. Give me a break! Not only do they use their own children for political purposes, but they turn every decent effort upside down for their own political and greedy purposes. Guardian and sister of a person with Down Syndrome and Special Education Teacher

    September 15, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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