Senator Chuck Grassley on Sunday said the health care plan crafted by Democrats in the U.S. House would not "pull the plug on grandma." Grassley has been under fire from Democrats for saying the public has "every right to fear" provisions which would see Medicare pay for doctor’s visits so patients could discuss "end of life" planning.
During an appearance on the CBS News program "Face the Nation," Grassley was pressed by host Bob Schieffer. "You’re not saying that this legislation would pull the plug on grandma, you’re just saying there are a lot of people out there who think that it would. Do you want to say this morning that that is not true, that it won’t do that?" Schieffer asked.
Grassley replied: "Well, it won’t do that."
Grassley said the fears are justified, though, because the bills under development seek to reduce Medicare costs, and end of life care is a big cost for the program — and some people assume end of life care is a priority area for cost-cutting.
"The Pelosi bill doesn’t intend to do that, but that’s where it leads people to," Grassley said.
Grassley is one of three Republicans on a so-called "Gang of Six" senators from the Finance Committee who’re trying to come up with a bipartisan deal on health care reform.
"We want bipartisanship because it is very, very important," Grassley said. "The president’s told me a lot of times he wants bipartisanship and part of the problem is you get conflicting signals out of the White House."
Grassley noted some Obama Administration officials seemed to suggest a week ago that the president might sign a bill which did not include a "public option" to compete with private insurance plans, then President Obama again restated his preference that a health care reform plan include a public option.