November 7th, 2009
05:45 PM ET
9 years ago

Rep. quotes infant on House floor: 'Maddie wants patient choice'

Washington (CNN) - In the midst of a heated debate on health care legislation, Rep. John Shadegg, R-Arizona, brought the cute, bald 7-month-old daughter of his Chief of Staff to the floor and gently bounced her in his arms as he expressed his opposition to the Democratic health care reform bill.

Shadegg used Maddie to illustrate how he said the Democrats’ proposal would pass debt on to her generation.

“Maddie believes in patient choice health care,” Shadegg said. “She asked to come here today to say she doesn’t want the government to take over health care, she wants to be able to keep her plan.”

Shadegg continued as the small child began playing with the foam microphone cover: “You see, Maddie knows that if this bill passes her mom’s health care goes away and won’t be around in five years. As a matter of fact, the bill says, if the bill passes, then no more health care for her mom because it has to change.

“Maddie wants patient choice. Maddie doesn’t want her mom’s premiums to go. She doesn’t want her mom’s taxes to go up by $730 billion dollars, do you Maddie? That’s too much money.”

Shadegg then did what few if any lawmakers have done before on the floor of the house: He quoted an infant. “She believes in choices, but most of all, Maddie says, ‘Don’t tax me to pay for health care that you guys want. If you want health care, pay for it yourselves. Because it’s not fair to pass your health care bill on to me and my grandchildren.’”

When Shadegg’s time ran out and California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman reclaimed control of the microphone, he said of Maddie, “That was a remarkable child,” and of Shadegg, “and a great ventriloquist.”

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soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. Donald

    "Maddie believes in patient choice". Well, if that is the case, she would want the public option. That would give her the choice not to pay huge compensation to insurance company execs. It is so funny how the Republicans can turn things around and try to make things look the opposite of what is really true. Give Maddie and all future generations real choice. Give them affordable health care and regulate the industry so that they don't get cheated like we are today. The Republicans are always talking about how much it costs. Well, it costs more to send that money down the bottomless pit of insurance executive's compensation. Give Maddie the choice not to pay the expensive middle man. And guarantee she won't lose her coverage when she gets sick. That is what Maddie really wants. So quit lying to us. The CEO of United Health Care received $750 million in compensation since 2007, and that is just one of many CEO stealing from us. Is that really what the republicans want?

    November 7, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. nina

    I'm pretty sure Maddie's only concerns right now involve eating, sleeping, and pooping...Give that child some mashed up bananas and a clean diaper and she'll be set!

    November 7, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. Phil

    We DON'T NEED A PUBLIC OPTION. We ONLY NEED TRUE HEALTH CARE REFORM. True health care reform is not being honestly considered by the Democrats in the House and Senate because it will severely reduce their ability to make money as most of them are trial liars (lawyers). Before introducing a public option that will be too over burdening to the tax payers, we need to address the real problem with the current system by implementing significant measures in tort reform (amongst other measure). Let's make our current system better by tweaking it. Those who think you can socialize one industry (public health option) in our economic engine without systematically socializing the rest are foolish and naive. Socialism breeds mediocrity. I want to continue to live under a system that rewards individual creativity and risk. Also, the fact that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are running out of money and will be defunct should be a real concern in allowing the same government bureaucracy to run health care. They have proven they cannot balance a budget or effectively run a business. Public health insurance seems to me to be a way to fix social security, medicare, and medicaid by helping people live shorter lives (pay in and get no pay out) – control the health, control the wealth! I don't trust the government. We have never been given any reason to. None of us should.

    November 7, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. henry

    What a prop you GOP clowns. Shadegg with the child of a chosen few! I missed it. Probably would have puked. Good to convince the "Christian" rednecks though.

    November 7, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Meez

    O my goodness. That speech by Rep Shadegg was so disgusting and absurd it was comedy. How dare he use an innocent baby as a prop in his untruthful, babbling presentation? Where was that child's mother? Why did she give her baby to that lunatic? There was not one nugget of factual information uttered from his mouth that entire time. I mean come ON! Maddie is unable to believe in ANY political thing yet, so how can he proclaim that she shares his twisted views?

    November 7, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. Terry from West Texas

    Shadegg is, of course, a liar.

    "...she wants to be able to keep her plan.”
    No one in America will lose their health coverage. That is the point.

    "... If you want health care, pay for it yourselves. Because it’s not fair to pass your health care bill on to me and my grandchildren. ..."
    Shadegg and the child of his chief of staff are not paying for their own medical care. American tax payers are borrowing money from China to pay for his health care and that of the child – and his chief of staff, and his wife and his chief of staff's wife. Shadegg obviously takes for granted those things that we tax payers provide for him and his staff and all their families. It must feel good to know that you will not get sick, suffer, or die unnecessarily. A Harvard study says that 45,000 Americans die annually due to lack of insurance.

    November 7, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Reaganomics Leads To Feudalism

    I'm sure the child is adorable, but this STUNT was both childish and stupid. This is the U.S. House of Representatives, NOT preschool.!The congressman should know better. You DON"T treat or talk to adults that way.

    And the part about her mom's taxes going up by 730 billion dollars?
    ANYONE who would even take that line of intellectually dishonest B.S. seriously shouldn't be serving in Congress.

    November 7, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. historian

    I think I've seen it all. This man is laughable....

    November 7, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. budhouston

    Great. The Republican solution is to allow an infant to set establish very important health care policy. Note that her ignorance of what the bill actually says is infantile.

    November 7, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  10. John

    And then he gave Maddie a gun and a helmet and sent her off to Afghanistan

    November 7, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  11. Amanda

    Well, my 11 week old fetus wants health care reform to insure that if he/she is born with an illness that they will be covered by the increasing cost of healthcare and so his/her parents will not have to go bankrupt to keep him/her alive. Let's stop funding war and fund healthcare to insure all Americans will not be denied quality healthcare.

    Our four year old feels the same way.

    November 7, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. Andrew

    “Maddie wants patient choice. Maddie doesn’t want her mom’s premiums to go. She doesn’t want her mom’s taxes to go up by $730 billion dollars, do you Maddie? That’s too much money.”

    Maddie's mom's taxes will go up by $730 billion? Holy crap, how much money does Maddie's mom make!

    In other news, if you are out of ideas, just bring a baby to the debate, real class act that GOP. Maddie should have hurled on his suit, I would have.

    November 7, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  13. mjm

    I just read an article on yahoo that the public option in the health care exchange would cost MORE than private insurance according to the CBO.

    Funnt how we havn't heard anything about that on CNN

    November 7, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. Christina

    Thank you Representative Shadegg. Hopefully the voting Representatives were paying attention to this message. This Health Care Bill is ATTROCIOUS!!! Terrible. Tell the Government to stay in their own yard and leave Health Care alone. . . . they have destroyed everything they have touched . . .

    November 7, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. John Ca

    I think heath care bill will pass by the end of the year of 2009

    John Ca.

    November 7, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. Chad

    What a stupid gimmick. Try debating the issue honestly and like an adult. People are dying every day because they cannot afford health insurance. That, Congressman, is something that is not cute.

    November 7, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. casey

    Children, I swear. I think Maddie has more intelligence than this representative. I'm sure if Maddie could talk, she would scold him for lying and fear mongering. Children know better, legislators do not.

    November 7, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. Dan, TX

    Babies should not be making our national policy decisions. That's why we elected the democrats in the first place.

    November 7, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. John Ca

    Rep. vs Dem vs Ind.

    November 7, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. jsmith

    Pooy Maddie, she doesnt now what it means to be in a den a crooks and theives who only think about their political career. I hope she was able to get out of there before the Dems ate her up, for their leader witch Pelosi.

    November 7, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. Jeremy-Dallas-tx

    Hey Rep John Shadegg, the current insurance health care system does not provide choices at all. It dictates which Doctor and what type of treatment you should have and anything beyond what the insurance company want to pay is yes...paid from your pocket. Insurance companies ration everything right from cheap policy to cadillac. I am republican but honestly our leadership is wrong in protecting status quo by opposing what Democrats are proposing. My advise is be inclusive! Discuss issues and NOT boycott your Congressional responsibilities only gamble on political scores. Either way,I envision my party losing grounds again next year mainly because of obstructive attitude. It is bad politics to oppose without workerable alternative. Deeds lost Virginia for being negative than offer solutions. You guys are doing the same in Congress and if you don't change you lose. Remember our right wing voters are fewer than Democrates.

    November 7, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  22. Moe, NY

    This is low, even for Republicans. Using a baby for a prop, have they no shame at all? I am sure Maddie and her family are well insured, most likely under the wonderful FREE coverage given to politicans. Now, it is time for ALL AMERICANS to have health care.

    November 7, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. JP

    Since this bill will be primarily funded with tax increases anything that lowers health care costs will mean less of a tax increase. Pelosi's bill has a provision in it that financially punishes states that enact tort reforms that would negatively affect fees the greedy ambulance chasing trial lawyers get. Some estimates say tort reform that helped to eliminate defensive medicine could save 100 billion a year. So we will be taxed 100 billion extra for the benefit of he trial lawyers. Is this reform is this change you can beleve in. No its BS.

    November 7, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  24. Rebekah

    Maddie really says:

    "I know that there are thousands of other innocent babies out there who can't get health care, because their parents can't afford insurance or their bosses don't offer it, and it's not fair that I'm here, healthy and well, and others who have done nothing wrong are suffering and dying.

    "I don't want my mommy and me to have no health care if she loses her job, or if her employer stops offering insurance. I'm also afraid that when I'm older, if I'm a student if I can't get a good enough job, I won't be able to afford private health insurance either.

    "It's not fair that some people die when they could easily be saved, just because they can't pay. People who have plenty of money, like my mommy and me, should give them a little help, because we could end up in the same situation. Plus, we're already paying extra for their medical care because when someone has an emergency and can't pay, it raises costs for everyone. So Shadegg, stop putting words in my mouth, stop letting the big companies buy your vote, and do what you know is right."

    November 7, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    pretty sick to use a child on behalf of the insurance industry
    when will america wake up and beleive that the health care options need to pass and become a choice not a insurance mandate...
    republicans and some democrates have no morals ..sold to the highest bidder ( insurance companies ).. sick sick sick !!!!!

    gary davis
    harbor oregon
    proud american in support of health care for everyone
    and take back america from the insurance industry..:)

    November 7, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
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