November 7th, 2009
05:45 PM ET
5 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.”


Filed under: Health care • Popular Posts
soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. rita

    looks like Maddie wants to speak for herself.

    November 7, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  2. Rico

    Seems Waxman may have been suggesting that the infant was the ventriloquist.

    November 7, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. Shelly CO

    And an intelligent and wise Maddie does not want her family in financial ruin if her mother or father develop a disease that requires intense treatment. Or should they lose jobs or become disabled or own their own small business. Also she is not proud of the fact that America lags behind other advanced Nations on health care and longevity of its own citizens! We have American children, women and men dying every day because they cannot afford health care! This is NOT Maddie's vision of her beloved country! Her vision is of Health care for ALL Americans!

    November 7, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. Grandma

    It is sick to use an infant in this way to prevent the passage of a bill to help give health care to people in need. This is a new low.

    November 7, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. Jeff

    Disgusting. Don't put words in a child's mouth.

    November 7, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  6. Joyce

    Shadegg should consider a career in advertising breakfast cereals. It does not say much for his negotiating skills when he has to resort to "quoting" a child.

    November 7, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  7. AMA member

    Many if not most physicians do NOT support the Democrat House bill despite CNN's and the White House's reporting that the AMA endorses it. Physicians that were affiliated with the AMA are no longer supporting the AMA (not joining or rejoining). Most physicians are now no longer members of the AMA. The latest endorsement by the AMA (actually trustees/ president) have been denounced by even AMA members including AMA delegates. The AMA Delegates are now pushing for a vote to revoke the AMA's endorsement. I'm surprised that CNN hasn't reported on the latter, only that the AMA endorses this bill.

    November 7, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  8. Kal El

    Child exploitation anyone??

    November 7, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  9. shawna

    that was a terrible thing to do to a child in the name of your rich-boy bigotry, and i hope she grows up to be ashamed of being unable to prevent you for using her that way. Shame on her parents – they don't deserve that child.

    November 7, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  10. Dawn, Ada, Ohio

    I'm surprised he didn't bring in a dog and pony too.

    November 7, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  11. Taking a Chance on Baby

    If we're talking about what our kids want, my 1 year old would like for all people to be covered, so when they suffer a health crisis like she did last November, they won't be financially ruined by the 250k hospital bill (not counting follow up care) OR be terrified of going one day without coverage because they'd never get it due to "pre-existing conditions".

    Speaking as myself...my daughter's story

    At 7 days of age my daughter was sent to the ER by our pediatrician as she was showing signs of septicemia (a blood infection). She was admitted via the ER into a hospital here in Boston in the early stages of organ failure...if we had waited even hours more it would have meant her death. Two days after admittance, she had a stroke. She stayed in intensive care for 10 days. She stayed on the regular 0-5 floor for another 10, and was released after almost 3 weeks in the hospital. She was released with persistent hypertension that had to be monitored by a home nurse 3 times a week at first, eventually falling to once weekly about 4 months later. She needed follow up care from cardiology, nephrology, gastroenterology, neurology and the pediatric stroke team.

    Our hospital separates out the doctor and hospital fees...the hospital fees alone were 250k. I have no idea how much more the cost of the doctors was, not to mention the round the clock nurse she required for her first 7 days in the Pediatric ICU when she was on a ventilator.

    We, luckily, had very good health insurance and paid $250 for this. However, if we had not had insurance, we would have been bankrupted by this sort of health crisis.

    Beyond that, we need to explain to our 1 year old when she is older that she will be forced to take jobs that offer health insurance as in any state other than Massachusetts (where there is mandatory healthy insurance and she can not be denied coverage) she would be denied private health insurance. She can not go without coverage for more than 64 days or her health issues will be considered pre-existing and the yearly kidney checks she will need for the REST OF HER LIFE (as the septicemia damaged one of her kidneys beyond repair and she now has a single functioning kidney) would not be covered, nor would any sort of dialysis or transplant should she ever need them.

    Hey Shadegg–My daughter wants you to hear that she's more than willing for her generation and her children's children to take on the cost of health care for ALL. Ridiculous wars started without just cause? That, she isn't interested in paying for.

    November 7, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  12. Reaganomics Leads To Feudalism

    If the Republicans had THEIR way, the only people who would have a "choice" concerning their healthcare, would be those individuals and families who are well enough off financially to actually be able to afford it.

    The rest of us would be SCREWED!!

    November 7, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  13. Gus

    I found that disturbing.

    November 7, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  14. james

    No shame on his part.

    November 7, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  15. Dan

    Really? Using babies now? that's really low..

    November 7, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  16. MorningStar

    Maggie may not grow up to be a repug. There may not even be repug when she becomes at age. How can her grandfather know what she want?

    November 7, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  17. Indiana Pagan

    If health care reform passes, it won't take away anyone's existing medical coverage; instead, millions more of our citizens will actually have quality medical coverage–and access to quality medical care–for the first time.

    November 7, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  18. kww

    She's a cutie! What a shame she is so ill informed.

    November 7, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  19. Michelle

    What about other little babies, "Maddie"? Ones that develop cancer or leukemia and the insurance company decides that treatment is too "experimental" or that mommy and daddy's premiums need to go up to the point they can't afford it anymore? Its nice that your mommy has a job where health care is provided, but what about Baby Devon or Baby Michael's mommy that can only find part-time work in this economy right now? Their mommies' pay checks go to taking care of their babies' daycare, and what little is left over goes to food and rent. Who's going to take care of them when they develop pneumonia? What about health care for 19 Jeff who just started his first job out of high school and it doesn't offer help with health care?

    I'm glad you care for yourself, little Maddie. Republicans do a very good job of caring only for themselves and nobody else but their own families. But I think that all babies and mommies and daddies and even those who aren't mommies and daddies deserve to have affordable health care so if they get sick, they aren't forced into bankruptcy and lose their house and their dreams. I think that everyone deserves a choice in their health care, and that choice should include a public option. I think that health care companies shouldn't be able to force people out of their insurance, or that mommies and daddies shouldn't be forced to stay in the same old job for the rest of their lives because they got sick at some point. Seems like that kills the idea of American know-how and go-to when we stifle American workers like that. Seems anti-American to keep people from going into running their own businesses because they won't be able to take care of their families health. I hope you don't get sick as a grown up, little Maddie, and find yourself in that situation.

    Hopefully, when you grow up little Maddie, you'll be able to think for yourself, and not have some creepy old rich man's hand up the back of your shirt, putting words in your mouth.

    November 7, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  20. Deb

    Oh please. I wonder if Maddie minds big corp. insurance companies jacking up her rates, and denying her care when the well paid CEO of that insurance company feels Maddie has passed the cost of coverage. Maybe Rep. Shadegg can give up HIS lifetime, no questions, full family government funded health care that HE enjoys. Maybe Maddie can have that health care? No? I mean Maddie's mom is already paying for that right now. What a joke these debates are.. 'look at the baby, and vote my way" No thanks Mr. Shadegg, when you pay for your family insurance out of your own pocket like the rest of us then maybe we'll listen to your arguments.

    November 7, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  21. tonyt

    cute and GOP dumb

    November 7, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  22. Avram

    This is one of the most disgraceful, exploitative, cynical political stunts I've ever seen. And made all the worse because every word that Representative John Shadegg spoke "on behalf" of Maddie was a lie. And all this from the so called "family values" party. So now we know, the Republicans will go to any lengths to spread their campaign of lies and disinformation, including exploiting an innocent 7-month old baby. These people have no shame, no moral compass, and no ethics. What a bunch of hypocrits. No wonder they're in the minority and fading fast. (By the way, I can only imagine the righteous indignation from these hypocrits if a Democrat had pulled a similar stunt to suport health care reform.)

    November 7, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. Charlie Brown

    I am quiet sure his Chief of Staff can afford to give Maddie health insurance.

    He could've easily gone to any poor neighborhood and picked up a toddler whose parents can't afford to provide the same

    Typical republican.

    November 7, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  24. T'SAH from Virginia

    Yea, Yea – Goo, Goo – Gaa, Gaa... OMG – She has insurance – there are other babies who DON'T... That is a dumb way of trying to get their point across!!!

    The Party of NO has gone INSANE!!! Oh I wish I were there with my grandchild – I would get up there and pretend he/she is talking too and say......... HEALTH REFORM WITH PUBLIC OPTION!!!! LOL

    Jeez – the mad, mad world of REPUBLI-CAN'Ts!!!!

    November 7, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  25. Boo

    He's lying on behalf of a child and putting false words into her mouth. No low they won't sink to. That's disgusting.

    November 7, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
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