(CNSNews.com) – The ranking Republicans on the House and Senate budget committees see President Obama's proposed fiscal 2010 budget as a first step toward health-care rationing in the United States.
The budget includes $634-billion that the administration is calling a “down payment” on a health-care reform plan that Obama wants to enact this year. Obama wants to set aside the money before announcing how the plan will work.
“It could lead to rationing,” said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, who was initially nominated by Obama to be Commerce Secretary before he withdrew his name.
Obama’s budget assumes that the government will recognize nearly $700 billion in projected “savings” on health care spending, and it plans to use that money to expand health-care coverage for uninsured Americans.
But Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, said that the president’s claim to be able to save $700 billion a year by cutting unnecessary medical tests and procedures shows that the administration has already decided to ration health care -- and knows how it plans to do it.
“If you’re going to quantify (savings) with certainty, that means you feel you’re going to ration with certainty,” Ryan said.
Ryan said the question now is how Obama plans to achieve the savings. He said it appears the president would use a centralized, bureaucratic process.
“How do they propose to go about doing this? Do they propose to set up a system where the government is in the nucleus of our healthcare system, where the government is telling providers -- physicians -- how to practice medicine?”
All told, Americans now spend a total of $2.4 trillion a year on health care.