Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum claimed that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was “uniquely unqualified” for the GOP nomination because of the similarities between health care laws in Massachusetts and President Barack Obama’s health care reforms, including the repeatedly debunked claim that “death panels” would ration care to seniors.
Speaking at a ballroom across the street from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Santorum pointed to a report (PDF) from the the non-partisan organization Families USA that found at least 15 major similarities between Obama’s Affordable Care Act and the reforms Romney enacted in Massachusetts.
“Both create government panels to dictate quality and cost containment,” Santorum explained. “Some of you may be familiar with the Independent Payment Advisory Board — which is a board separate from Congress, independent of Congress — that President Obama created to control health care costs. How? By cutting reimbursements to doctors and hospitals under the Medicare program. Well, Gov. Romney has a similar program called the Council on Health Quality and Costs.”
“Some people refer to these types of boards as death panels,” he added. “Why? Because they ultimately decide to ration care to those procedures and people because they don’t believe these procedures are effective in providing care, that the utilization isn’t worth the costs.”
In 2009, Politifact named “death panels,” a term thought to have been first used by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), as their “Lie of the Year.”