September 15th, 2009
05:40 PM ET
13 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. veggiedude

    Republican Governor Arnold Swartzeneggar has already rationed the care for disabled here in California. The old and the feeble were the first to be cut out under his budget plan.

    September 15, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  2. Barry in Maryland

    So Republicans think that a system of health care run by for-profit insurance companies doesn't ration health care to enhance their bottom lines. This despite all the evidence that those companies cancel policies of people who need expensive care as well as not write policies for people with pre-existing conditions.

    Do they really think that Democrats are going to ration the health care? Or are they admitting that their own Republican cohorts will ration the health care in the name of budget cutting?

    September 15, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  3. pa independent and fiscally responsible

    A question for you....have you bloggers read the bill or are you just taking the word of the pres? Get an education, read the proposals and then say the repub are fearmongers. You may be surprised once you become a free, educated thinker.

    September 15, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  4. Jamie

    Franks and Rogers: I didn't think I could see politicians sink much lower, but then you two came along. If there's a hell, you just earned yourself a pair of first-class tickets.

    September 15, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  5. JDD

    Just a side question – why again is "PolitiFact" or "Fact Check" assumed to be accurate? Can someone explain to me why again these groups are trusted as "neutral"?

    September 15, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  6. obama2012

    Lol who elects these people

    September 15, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  7. The GOP cares about the disabled?

    Isn't this the same political party that fought tooth and nail against the passage of ADA? Didn't they tell us then that American business would sink under the burden of compliance? And now, suddenly, they care about disabled Americans. I am so touched. If they care, they should shows us by inserting language into the legislation that prohibits an insurance company from denying any coverage to a disabled person. Go ahead GOP. Show us how much you care about the disabled!

    September 15, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
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