Rick Perry Uses Cancer Patient Anecdote To Bash Obama Health Care Law

12/28/2011 01:08 pm ET

Texas Gov. Rick Perry told an anecdote Wednesday in Urbandale, Iowa of a cancer patient who came up to him claiming that the health care law signed by President Barack Obama would mean that she could not get the treatment she needed, despite the fact that the law doesn't bring bureaucrats into medical decisions.

"She came up to me and she said, 'Governor, if you don't get rid of Obamacare, I'm dead," said the GOP presidential candidate, according to ABC News. "She said, 'They will never, they will never take care of me,' and that's a powerful testimony by that lady. We need a program that gets back to where it's the doctor and the patient who's going to be making the decisions about healthcare not some bureaucrat, not some insurance company."

Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain made a similar claim at a September GOP debate, saying that he wouldn't have survived stage four cancer if "Obamacare" had been in place and a "bureaucrat" delayed his treatment.

No part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows a "bureaucrat" to intervene in treatment decisions. The closest thing to it is the Independent Payment Advisory Board, responsible for slowing the rising growth of Medicare labeled by critics as a "death panel."

But even the IPAB would not intervene in cases of individual patients. If Medicare spending growth is projected to exceed certain targets, then the IPAB must come up with plans to slow the increase. The board also may not submit "any recommendation to ration health care."

Earlier in the campaign, Perry defended himself against a factually incorrect anecdote relayed by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). She told the story of a woman who came up to her and claimed that her daughter had suffered mental retardation as a result of the HPV vaccine in a September debate -- a claim without any medical evidence. Perry, who signed the 2007 executive order mandating the vaccine in the state of Texas for pre-teen girls, said it had "no basis in fact."

At the Perry appearance, he was introduced by Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been stripped by the Department of Homeland Security of his federal powers to verify the immigration status of jail inmates after a Dec. 15 Justice Department report blasted him for racially profiling Latinos. Arpaio referred to the state's "Buckeyes," and the audience quickly booed his mention of the mascot of Ohio State University. Arpaio recovered after realizing his error, saying, "It's three o'clock Phoenix time." Perry took the mic, later saying, "You're not going to live that one down for a while -- I'm here to tell ya."


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