Ron Paul on debate's health care moment
September 14th, 2011
12:23 PM ET
3 years ago

Ron Paul on debate's health care moment

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Ron Paul was at the center of one of the most memorable moments of Monday night's "CNN-Tea Party Republican Debate" when a member of the audience shouted "Yeah!" in response to a question asking whether a critically ill person without health insurance should be left to die.

In an interview Wednesday the Texas congressman, who was being asked the question when the outburst happened, responded to critics who said his response lacked compassion.

"You know, it's so overly simplified to explain a full philosophy on how you care for people in 30 or 60 seconds," Paul said Wednesday on CNN Newsroom.

Paul continued, "The freer the system, the better the health care. For somebody to turn around and say there's one individual who didn't have this care, you know, all of a sudden you hate people and you're going to let them die? I spent a lifetime in medicine. To turn that around like that is foolish."

Paul went on to say that of all the Republican presidential contenders, he was uniquely positioned to speak out on the government's role in providing medical care. Paul is a licensed medical doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology.

"I understand it differently," Paul said. "I want the maximum medical care and the maximum prosperity for everybody, and it doesn't come from the big government welfare and bankruptcies that we have now."

He continued, "Nobody can compete with me about compassion because I know and understand how free markets and sound money and a sensible foreign policy are the most compassionate systems ever known to mankind."

soundoff (450 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    To moronic commentor #2 –

    GM is doing better than ever, thanks in huge part to President Obama and Democrats. It is insanely stupid people like yourself that are a cancer to society, and one can only hope you and your wretched ilk meet their demise sooner than later.

    September 14, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. scarlett

    A few people in the audience said yes probably as a joke, but Ron Paul clearly said NO.

    September 14, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Pyrometman

    @Rudy NYC
    You said: "He was asked a "Yes or No" question. "Would you let him die?" Someone in the audience spoke up quickly, "Yes!" Rep. Paul could have simply said, "No. I'm a doctor who has sworn the oath.""

    He DID say NO! You need to go back and watch his response again. You either didn't hear right or are flat-out being dishonest.

    September 14, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Hap

    Dr. W is on the money, too many people making too much profit off others suffering. A sin for sure. Let's change Tea Party to the Let'em Die Party. Make sport of it like Logans Run, they're going to die anyway right. You might as well you are all going to hell anyway.

    September 14, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. Philojazz

    Sniffit is right on the mark when he says "that's all we need to know about them." It was another nasty crowd, right up there with the previous crowd that cheered Mr Perry for signing off on so many executions in Texas. Does this possibly indicate that Tea Partiers, and Republicans in general, are immoral and nasty people.? Well, let's just say it isn't evidence to the contrary, that's for sure. And, Rudy NYC, I also wondered why Mr Paul didn't just say , that's an easy question to answer, "No, I took the Hippocratic oath. Now, let me expand on that." Why didn't he talk like that? Why do ALL of the current politicians, on both (all) sides, talk the way they do (including Mr McCain of the 'straight talk express', or Mr Perry, who's just a "good ol' boy"? Beats me. Could be because they're all weasel-ly spin doctors, with no backbone???

    September 14, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. Really

    Out of all the candidates... Ron Paul is THE healthcare Zsar.

    September 14, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. Comments4U

    This country Saddens me. Sorry Ron, a bushel of Common Sense is not so common anymore. Glad you still have some.

    September 14, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. kerpluk01

    For those that think the GOP/tea party (which are not the same) want the uninsured to die make me laugh. How would like if we took that arguement a step further and said is it ok to kill a healthy beating heart b/c the mom doesn't want them? Both are dumb questions and shouldn't be asked. No one wants to allow anyone to die. But the fact remains it is a matter of personal responsibility. If he chooses not to have healthcare and can't afford treatment on his own dime, he should enlist friends/family to gather support from other organizations. Doctors are not going to let him/her die just because he doesn't have insurance.

    September 14, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. Publius Novus

    Rep. Paul is a social-Darwinist and a Libertarian. Libertarians. like their heroine Ayn Rand, lack compassion of any kind. Dog-eat-dog. Every man for himself and the Devil take the hindmost. If that is the kind of society you want to live in, then you should vote Libertarian-Tea Patsy-GOP.

    September 14, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. Virgie

    Fact, if there is a huge natural disaster or a nuclear bomb explosion, someone is going to die. Fact, no matter with or without a health care plan, someone is going to die. The question is how many or how few. We the voters WILL decide.

    September 14, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. ted

    I didn't know this guy was a doctor. He should be out tooling around in a Maserati to the country club, not duking it out with Perry, Romney and the rest of the rightwing gasbags.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 14, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. Chris

    The point is when does the government stop being a crutch for people's mistakes? If you chose not to be responsible and lived recklessly, when did it become the burden of the people to pay for that mistake?

    If I knew the government would bail me out of any mess I got myself in, I would go ahead and spend my life savings in Vegas at the craps table. If I won big – great I can retire early. If I lose everything, no problem the government will reimburse me for my efforts.

    September 14, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Luke

    Then he should give back the government paid healthcare he gets.

    September 14, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Andy Walsh

    "Let them die!" If this is the response of "God's Own Party?" then Laissez-Faire Capitalism is no more compatible with Christianity than Marxism is. Ron Paul's claim that charity can fill the gap is absurd. Charity did not fill the gap during the age of the Robber Barons. This is why the safety net of the New Deal and later eras came into existence. The Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant, and Jewish leaders were on the forefront of those who argued that the coercive hand of government was necessary to protect the poor and the weak. Are Republicans going to argue that Americans are less selfish now than they were in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s???

    September 14, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Oakspar

    If the GOP position is "buy healthcare or die," how is that different from "buy healthcare or go to prison"?

    With the GOP I have the freedom to (A) buy healthcare insurance, (B) not have healthcare insurance and risk death IF I get deathly sick and IF I can't aford it, or (C) save up my money for healthcare if I need it.

    The simple truth is, any of those decisions are acceptable. The amount paid for my health care in my life is likely to be less than healthcare insurance costs – that difference is the healthcare insurace company's profits. If everyone took what was paid for their healthcare and put it in a bank acount, it would more than cover their healthcare bills. There are exceptions, but those exceptions are rare, and a reasonable risk for someone to take with their money and life (a far smaller risk than, say, becoming a police officer for money).

    If I had the option of keeping the money spent on my healthcare (about $5000 per year) and subtracted my medical bills for the last seven years that I have had that care ($739), I would have over $34,000 drawing interest to pay any future bills.

    If I am so ill that I have no hope that my savings and continued life earnings could ever pay the bills of extending it, then it is not worth extending (fiscally). If you come to the issue that any life is worth saving, no matter the cost, and that the resources of all should be used to do it, you cannot come to any conclusion that does not bankrupt everyone.

    There is a difference between being heartless and being a realist.

    September 14, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. iTexan

    Obamacare = buy a health care plan or pay a fine. Republicans = buy a health care plan or die. Hmm, Obamacare sounds like a better option. No?

    September 14, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. People IsStupid

    After the "yes" was shouted, the moderator should have followed up: "and what if that person was jesus"

    September 14, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Left Coast

    What Paul covers over is the history behind our current system. What he calls for now is what we had in the past, say as late as 1880 – 1890. No health insurance and little if no regulation of medicine. And guess what? There were huge problems! Drugs were not pure, doctors were poorly educated, and licensing was spotty. So we spent a good 100 years trying to fix those problems! Why should we return to the 19th century? We can fix our problems, but we will have to to admit that we don't have all the answers in this country. There are other places in the world that do far better. Heck Cuba does a better job in some areas than we do! Lets learn from the world. Oops, that doesn't follow Republican orthodoxy about American Exceptionalism.

    September 14, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. James

    @Rudy NYC
    He did. He said we, as neighbors and friends, have an obligation to take care of each other.

    September 14, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. James

    It seems to me like the media only covers Dr. Paul in negative light, ALWAYS! and yet when he WINS all the polls after the debate, they don't cover it

    That being said, Dr. Paul said "No" to Blitzer unlike the Neo-Con's in the audience who cheered "YES", this is the type of media BIAS that continues to gain Paul more support around the country.

    Keep up the good work CNN with the BIAS, it will give Dr. Paul more votes in the end.

    September 14, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. GrogInOhio

    I think Ron Paul and son Rand are nincompoops, but Dr. Paul is not guilty on this. It's the Teahadists that seem to cheer death at Republican debates and rallies. From cheering Rick Perry for executing 234 citizens (at least one of whom was likely guilty of nothing) to hollering for death to the uninsured to Sarah Palin fans shouting "kill him" regarding then candidate Obama. The Teahadists are a bane to America. The Founding Fathers would vomit at the knowledge of these morons.

    September 14, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Ronald

    GOP/Tea Party health insurance plan: sick, got no insurance, got no job, pre-existing conditions, no money...DIE

    September 14, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. kerpluk01

    Dr. W, you have no idea why healthcare is expensive. Yes Pharma companies play apart, they will have a couple big drugs come to market and tons of others fail. They will recoup those cost through the successful drugs. Lets take Advil for example. That is more expensive than the generic brand, but do you know where the higher margin is: the generic. All of the research was done on the name brand drug and the Pharma companies are going to recoup the RnD cost. The generic doesn't go through this testing, a few things are changed in the drug but the active ingredients remain the same.
    When the patents run out on drugs they try to get another patent on a very very similar drug so the generic can't come out. See claritin and then claritin D.
    I work in the contracts department of a well known hospital and do you have any idea how much insurance cost for the doctors b/c people like to sue just because? We are going to recoup these cost, we also do extra test on patients sometimes in the event we might miss something. This is a CYA in the event the patient comes back to complain and for other reasons.
    Here is another cost increase for you to consider. We are looking at RFID tags on gauze used in surgery so the doctors/nurses can account for every one used during surgery. Every guaze used to wipe down blood must be counted for before and after surgery and if the numbers don't match, patient gets opened up again to find the missing. These seems simple right, guess again. Have any idea how many guaze are used during a heart transplant? WHen you have guaze covered in blood. RFID tags will allow the counting to be less accurate b/c the wand would pick up any left in the cavity. I could go on, but silly law suits have a huge impact on the cost of healthcare. I am not saying mistakes don't happen but guaze left in the body cavity here is rare, but if it happens and the patient goes home. That is a huge law suit.

    September 14, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. Scott, Philadelphia, PA

    Ron Paul "know(s) and understand(s) how free markets ... are the most compassionate systems ever known to mankind". Human compassion and any emotion other than greed and paranoia, have no relationship to free markets whatsoever. It is the power of the pursuit of the almighty dollar above all else that reigns supreme. If you can make more money hurting people than helping people than guess who wins in the free market? Ron Paul may believe that his "vision" of free markets will take care of people in a humane manner but it is truly a fantasy and a clear example of molding reality to fit ones ideolgocal beliefs.

    September 14, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. Lisa B.

    I hope the uninsured patient in question is a teabagger.

    September 14, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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