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Santorum Falsely Claims The Affordable Care Act Will Deny Coverage To Disabled Children Like His Daughter

April 26, 2011 12:43 pm ET by Meredith Kormes

Rick Santorum

In a Des Moines Register interview, would-be 2012 candidate Rick Santorum compared the new health care law to socialized medicine and claimed that disabled people will be denied care under it. He also cited his two-year-old daughter, Isabella, who was born with a genetic abnormality as an example of such an individual whose care would be rationed.

From the Des Moines Register:

"I look at how society with socialized medicine treats children like Bella, and children like Bella don't survive," Santorum told The Des Moines Register today, the first leg of a three-day swing through Iowa. "Children like Bella are not given the treatment that other children are given." [...]

In the Register interview, Santorum spoke at length about his belief that care will be reduced for disabled children: "In socialized medicine countries, where is what ObamaCare is and leads us, children with these types of disabilities simply are not given the access to care. Care is rationed, and it's rationed by government agencies who decide which lives are valuable and should be cared for. ... They just simply refuse care. It's just too expensive. These children are not a good investment of critical taxpayer resources."

Santorum continued: "You see it already in elements of ObamaCare, where you're going to have folks who are going to make decisions about what appropriate levels of care are. Certainly these children with genetic abnormalities can be profoundly disabled and as a result can and are denied care."

Santorum's attempt to make his daughter the face of rationed care sounds similar to Sarah Palin's thoroughly debunked claim about her son, Trig, and "death panels." As PolitiFact.com wrote, "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."   

Aside from that, the ACA includes many provisions that actually expand coverage and improve care for the disabled. Because simply obtaining insurance is more difficult for disabled individuals, one of the key components of the new health care law is that insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage based on a pre-existing condition. For adults, this provision will go into effect in 2014, but for children under the age of 19, this has already gone into effect as of September 2010. Plus, to assist adults with pre-existing conditions before 2014, the health care law created high-risk pools

Starting in 2014, Medicaid eligibility will be expanded to include individuals with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty levels. If people are not eligible for Medicaid, they will be able to purchase insurance through state "exchanges." The law also eliminates lifetime limits and restricts annual payment caps that have affected individuals with and without disabilities alike.

Additionally, the ACA expands funding for two programs, the Money Follows the Person demonstration program and the Community First Choice Option program, which "help move Medicaid beneficiaries out of institutions and into their own homes or other community settings."