Seth Perlman, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at a campaign rally, Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, in Hannibal, Mo.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum appears to be backing a claim that the Obama administration would block medical treatment for stroke patients over age 70. Professional medical groups have called such statements bogus.

During a forum Friday in Columbia, Mo., prominent conservative James Dobson cited an anonymous caller to a conservative radio show in denouncing what he said was a policy that imposed a death panel.

Dobson claimed that under the policy, for patients over 70, advanced neurosurgical care was not generally indicated. That, he said, would mean death for that person.

Santorum seemed to go along with Dobson, arguing that government-run health care would result in limits on care.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons say no such regulation exists.