September 15th, 2009
05:40 PM ET
12 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. Joe from NC

    My brother is autistic. Death panels from several insurance companies decided that he shouldn't live a few years ago when we had to buy insurance. These "Christian" congresspeople have slapped every disabled child and adult in the face.

    September 15, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  2. Joyce

    This is a NEW low, using kids for polical reasons!
    Is there no level at all that Republicans won't sink to?
    First it was that the government would kill off senior citizens to save money, now they're dragging out kids.
    The parents should be just as ashamed to allow their children to be used like this by politicans!
    This was inspired by Sarah Palin remarks about her infant son.
    And I do not believe the healthcare issue is even what matters to the Republicans. I believe that they just want to inflict political harm to Obama by trying to make the bill that does pass, so weak and comprised, it will fail.

    September 15, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    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."


    Regarding items inserted at the last minute: That would be the last minute before Congress reviews and votes on the legislation. Items cannot be inserted between Congressional voting and being signed into law by the President.

    Boy, I wish the people who post here would educate themselves before they click "Submit" ...

    September 15, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  4. NadineCA

    What is wrong with these people. This is why we need health care reform. People with disabilities and who are uninsured need help because they can't get covered or adequate health care now, why are these idiots trying to stop President Obama from helping people with diablities and uninsured people from getting health care. That's what a public option offers, the ability to not be turned away because of a pre-existing condition or if your "too ill" and considered uninsurable. How dare they twist this when it's the Repbulicans that are in "bed" with the Insurance companies now and are threated that they may lose their gravy train when this bill passes and everyone is able to get the medical coverage that is their god given right.

    September 15, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    Regarding the proposed Independent Medical Advisory Council (IMAC): It would be concerned with "Medicare payment rates and other reforms."

    There never has been and never will be provisions in health care reform to judge a citizen's productivity.

    Anyone saying otherwise is lying.

    September 15, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  6. sandy

    Insurance companies do that now. Besides, when have the republicans as a whole cared about kids issues period?

    September 15, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. vette gal

    Fear, fear, fear....that's all the republicans have ever touted. It got Bush elected again after 9/11 and they're now using it over and over again. Too bad most uneducated people are so afraid. If they'd only use the brains God gave them and check out all these outlandish statements, they might find most of them are outright lies.

    September 15, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  8. Confused

    This is just the "death panel" falsehood reincarnated. I am ready for a debate on the actual proposals contained in the health care reform bill and the alternatives. I'm also curious how people continue to get all worked up over these stories that have repeatedly been proven to be false. Fool me once...

    September 15, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. Pragmatic

    I wish the GOP had come to the table to work on health care reform: they didn't. The GOP could care less about reform or your health ... just lie, lie and then more (expletive deleted) lies... and the foolish tea-pot people just follow along ...

    Insurance companies already ration care; The woman mentioned last Wednesday: her company dropped her in the middle of chemo treatments and now she's dead... that's what the GOP idea of health care.

    Too low to step on and too slimy to kick ...

    September 15, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  10. Robert

    They are pathetic. Republicans are idiots.. Those in Congress who spread this crap, and the rank and file throughout the country who just buy it up...

    September 15, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  11. Jan

    The only ones who are rationing care to the disabled in this country are insurance companies.

    September 15, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. m jeff

    The Republicans are so low they could walk under a snake, why all of the scare tactics. Is this the only plans they can come up with.

    September 15, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. I am Newt's ex wife

    Boy....when the conservative wacko talk show hosts get wind of this....we will have another they're killing grandma moment.

    Now that is a good plan GOP.....just plain scare and there some school you go to for this crap?

    September 15, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  14. MikeH

    CNN, I dare you, grow a set and expose these liars and their lies. What have you got to lose? What little credibility you have left.

    September 15, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. mike,texas

    The republicans want more war and death,and the dems want healthcare and save lives,tough decision.

    September 15, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. annie s

    These people are beginning to make me ill with their lies and fear tactics. Facts: no one is asking for government takeover of health care; we are merely asking for the choice of a public plan to complete with private ones. The President has emphatically stated that the government will NOT fund abortions. And neither special needs kids nor granny are going to be denied care. Actually, considering Republicans voted to deny coverage to needy kids during the Bush Administration (and considering they want to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid altogether) the only fear kids and seniors should have is of Republicans.

    September 15, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  17. M. Ames, Syracuse

    And what will they accuse the Democrats of proposing next?

    Drowning puppies?

    September 15, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Putin Still Invading Airspace Between Palin's Ears

    So why are the Repulsicans always using "the children" as their shield? Next up, your pets.

    September 15, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  19. Hopeful Optimist

    Abraham Lincoln would be embarrassed, ashamed, absolutely appalled at his party's hijacking. This is the most unbelievable behavior from supposed adults I have ever witnessed in my life. And the fact that it's sponsored, indeed fomented by the Republican party is beyond comprehension.


    September 15, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. NVa Native

    More lies from the Republicans. They don't care about anything except money and power.
    Republicans – the party of home grown terrorism.

    September 15, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  21. Seth

    Lowest of the low Republicans.
    Next year when I go to vote I plan to wear a tee shirt that says Democrat/Independent, just so I am not mistaken for a Republican.

    September 15, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  22. Bug3t | Ruth, CA

    Are you sure this isn't some Palin-inspired "You've Been Punk'd" episode? Ms. Quitter can come out now...

    September 15, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. it's getting hot in here

    Stop it already. The GOP is determined to reach depths that would make Jaques Cousteau envious. Same old broken rcord. Since when do republicans give a crap about anything but a war or a corporation?

    September 15, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. PaulC

    Will these psychos get off the rationing mantra!
    They are obviously oblivious to the fact that health care is currently being rationed. They are determined to totally ignore the facts and continue to toe the insurance and special interests party line to maintain the status quo.
    The Republicans have never lifted one finger to help the poor or needy but to hear them talk they are the sole guardian of the downtrodden.
    They're policy is you are on your own and let the hungry eat cake.

    September 15, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  25. Mario, mtl, ca.

    What do we expect from the old, old, old, party

    September 15, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
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