GOP Unveils "Seniors' Health Care Bill of Rights"

(AP)
The head of the Republican National Committee today unveiled a "Seniors' Health Care Bill of Rights," claiming that the GOP's first priority in health care reform is protecting seniors.

"Under the Democrats' plan, senior citizens will pay a steeper price and will have their treatment options reduced or rationed," RNC Chairman Michael Steele wrote today in the Washington Post.

While Democrats have proposed making cuts to Medicare, President Obama has insisted that the cuts will come from waste in the system -- and that benefits for seniors will not be reduced.

Steele attacks the president's proposal to have a commission of experts evaluate Medicare payment rates, as well as his proposal to eliminate subsidies to insurance companies participating in Medicare Advantage.

"These types of 'reforms' don't make sense for the future of an already troubled federal program or for the services it provides that millions of Americans count on," Steele says.

Secondly, the Republican leader says, it is necessary "to prohibit government from getting between seniors and their doctors." Third, Steele writes, "we need to outlaw any effort to ration health care based on age."

There have been no proposals, however, to change what procedures Medicare would cover.

The fourth tenet of Steele's "bill of rights" is "to prevent government from dictating the terms of end-of-life care," alluding to a controversial provision of the House health care bill that would have allowed Medicare to cover end-of-life counseling sessions.

Steele's op-ed is "just simply riddled with lies, and we need to call him out on that," Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said today, according to the Hill newspaper.

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