Sarah Palin warns health care overhaul amounts to ‘hefty tax hike’ for special needs families

By Greg Bluestein, AP
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Palin: Health care overhaul to hurt special needs

DULUTH, Ga. — The federal medical care overhaul would limit contributions to health savings accounts and raise insurance costs for people including those with special needs, former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said at a fundraiser Tuesday for developmentally disabled children.

She warned that new rules aiming to raise $13 billion by limiting contributions to flexible spending accounts amount to a “hefty tax hike” for families of special needs children struggling with health care costs. And she said families will wind up with fewer care options.

“Our insurance and our care choices will be diminished by this new program,” she said to an audience of several thousand at a suburban Atlanta arena. “The government’s taking over one-sixth of our economy and we expect the government’s going to do a better job than the private sector?”

Supporters of the health care overhaul say it will ultimately lower costs while expanding coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

Palin, the former governor of Alaska who was John McCain’s running mate in 2008, said she felt connected to the audience because she has a young son, Trig, with Down syndrome.

She said that she was shocked when doctors told her the news when she was 12 weeks pregnant and wondered if she would be patient enough to handle the challenge. But she said she believed God prepared her heart for her son’s birth during the pregnancy.

“It was such an answered prayer the moment that Trig was born. It was the greatest, most obvious manifestation of a prayer when Trig was born,” she said. “He looked up at me like he was saying, ‘I’m here mom. Now are you going to trust that all is going to be OK?’”

The event was billed as a nonpolitical benefit hosted by the Gwinnett County ministry Zachariah’s Way, which helps churches serve disabled and special needs parishioners. But Palin couldn’t resist a few knocks on the Obama administration.

She said she would work to encourage Americans to treat special needs children with respect and that she was disappointed that one of Obama’s aides used the word “retarded.” White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel apologized earlier this year for using the word to describe liberal activists whose tactics on health care he questioned.

“America’s too good for that,” she said to applause. “We’re too good to have to put up with that.”

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