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. RN

    If the people who supported leting that person die were ever in the position of not having health insurance they would change their answer in a heart beat. The conservatives have nothing if not a double standard.

    September 14, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. Larry

    Sorry Ron Paul, but when it comes to health care tied to the free market system and greedy health providers, you have one big oxymoron. We certainly can see how the free market (lets make as much money as possible) has gotten us. Health care costs are out the roof. There has got to be price contols put on health care. They can still make a handsome profit, just not a killing. It was sad to hear the arrogant and none caring people. Is this what society has become. If we would stop paying medical care for all of the illiegals and their children, that would help also.

    September 14, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. diridi

    In GOP, I strongly think for Mitt Romney....that's it. He talks sense....some at least....

    September 14, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. Fred Evil

    The FREE MARKET is the most compassionate system around?!?!
    Absolutely NOT! The Free Market is CUTTHROAT, is has NO compassion.

    Ron Paul talking bologna again...

    September 14, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. mfhpr

    If the law says that emergency services are to be provided (no matter if there's insurance coverage on the patient) and the hospital eats it if not paid, then the law should also say insurance is mandatory. You know, like wearing seat belts and helmets. Stats show $40B-$60B in losses by hospitals each year for this very real fact.

    September 14, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. Rob in MO

    As a physician I found Paul's nonresponse to the reasonable question disgraceful. No wonder he migrated from medicine to politics; he has no concern for people, particularly the vulnerable and suffering.

    September 14, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. jerryc

    I am a veterinarian and no one has insurance and govt. sure doesn't pay us. That's why our prices are so low. If the govt. would get out of human health care and the insurance business medical costs would go down. I never understand how a hospital can charge $700 for a lab test that costs them $10. We sure can't. I get $20-25 for the same test and believe me it's harder to get a sample from an animal. Human medical fees are the biggest scandal in history.

    September 14, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. Sharon

    As a college educated medical professional I must say I was very shocked seeing and hearing the CNN Tea Party Debate audience actually applaud and then hear multiple loud yelled "yes" to let the youg 30+ yo uninsured comatose individual die who was already in hospital. Yes, this fictional described patient made bad choice not to medically insure himself, even though he could afford the coverage. But for these people to act like judges and juries to convict him like a killer to death was extremely inhumane and was shocking for me to hear. This young man made a mistake. He could have possibly recovered from coma with proper medical care. We live in USA. I thought we were a caring and compassionate nation.

    September 14, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. jdunc

    Ron Paul to America- You are on your own! No help from gov't, no help from Co.s, no social security, no pensions, no health care- live a long life only if you can afford it! Will not get my vote, Obama is the best of the bunch- I would prefer a stronger candidate, but he has worked hard to get America over the hump and should be given the chance to continue his success. Do you really want to put the gang that caused this catastrophic economic nightmare back in power with the same answers they had in 2007?

    September 14, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. Ken

    Are we suprised at the tea party? They let a mans house burn to the ground because he missed a payment to the fire dept.
    They let a man die if he wasn t insured. So why give an illegal immigrant low cost college tuition and why do they care if someone gets an abortion?

    September 14, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. dewed

    Dr. W: You obviously don't know anything about Ron Paul's positions on these matters.

    September 14, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. AniK

    ....Paul for President????

    He'd let a comotose person with no insurance be cared for by the "church", or somebody. He didn't say who.

    He'd tell people they are "free" when their jobs have been decimated and their insurance canceled, or if they have an on-going disease and can't get insurance anywhere.

    Taking it a step further...people would also be 'free' to behave as they want if we had no policing forces and laws; they would be 'free' to grow up ignorant if we had no government-funded education platforms; they would be free to rob old people... (wait...they already do that). With the cost of everything escalating, people on Social Security have had no cost-of-living raise for two years.

    Wow!! Sounds like the 'forward-moving' country that would go over a cliff in the name of 'trickle-down'. Remember your history. If the concept of "trickle down" worked with human beings – the lords would have shared more with the serfs.

    Therefore, basic economic health depends on everyone being educated for work, being healthy enough to do the work, and no having their SS savings stolen by the government for their pet projects.

    For the most part, no one wants to rob the rich....but the people who have a lot of money are expected to pay their fair share of running this country and not dump that responsibility onto the backs of people who are struggling to make a living.

    September 14, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. Rickymo

    Bad economy–bad time for a country that is losing its stature in the world spurring a growth of scary nationalism that is looking for scapegoats. Gays, immigrants and the under-insured are just a part of the scapegoating. In my mind very much resembling tthe Germany of the 20's and early 30's.

    September 14, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. Rand

    GOTea Party Health care Plan: Don't get sick.

    September 14, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. al in memphis

    And we thought nothing about the Joe Wilson moment "you lie"– A culture of politics is being born that has patriotism and free market capitalism as it outer clothing, but in reality its "exclusionist and greed at it core" Its were the term fair share means what the rich and powerful can legally take from the taxpayers and middle class, but does not have the same meaning when it comes to supporting the country as a whole.

    This kind of thinking says that all the advancement in medicine has been for profit– not for the benefit/welfare of the human being. I don't believe in people who plan on free riding the system (that why everybody should have some form of insurance), however the best nation in the world should be able to figure out health care that has some level of decency to it for all Americans.

    September 14, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. Paul D'Amico

    Ron Paul may have practiced medicine
    But his response to the question about the person who chose not to have healthcare and was seriously injured was irresponsible. He thinks the hospital should eat the burdon of paying for his care. That is why we have a debate on healthcare is because the non-profits hospital is being drained by having to burdon themselves of the expense of caring for people without health insurance. The republicans would have you die in the street.

    September 14, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. mfhpr

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

    Nice! Very nice! I would've loved to have heard their response to that! Falls kind of in line with my earlier post: what if abortion rights were eliminated by these same people and it's a newborn that was conceived through rape or incest and has no insurance to cover a stay in ICU???

    September 14, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. Mike

    If someone doesn't have health insurance, and there is no Medicaid or any other public health insurance program, do you treat a person with a severe sudden illness or injury? That's not a compicated question or answer. Ron Paul, and others, don't want to answer because the answer is revolting.

    September 14, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Angry Taxpayer

    Why can't the taxpayers have the same access to healthcare that our representatives do? If we put our congressmen and women on the same healthcare plan that we have it would get fixed in a hurry.

    September 14, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. Hmm

    People need to shut up about the lack of compassion. Excuse us for not being bleeding hearts and wanting to destroy the country in an attempt to save everybody. I believe in free will. In the scenario asked the man intentionally decided he didn't need healthcare. Did I or Ron Paul agree with the people who said we should let him die? No. I personally think in that scenario they should treat him and then stick him with the full bill when he recovers instead of forcing other people to pay for it.

    September 14, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. Ellis Island

    Ron Paul: Please run even if you do not get the Republikan/Teabag nomination. They are fools, you have some intelligence. Still, your answer did not stand up to the ignorant bloke who shouted "yes.' (Of course, not if it were HIS teabaager son!)

    September 14, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. Scott

    Paul stated: "The freer the system, the better the health care."

    If this is so then why are we always ranked lower than most other industrialized countries?

    September 14, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Jay

    I respect Congressman Dr. Ron Paul, however i disagree with the philosophy that Free Markets are compassionate in nature. Free Markets doesn't have to be and aren't always compassionate to human beings. Remember, businesses are in business to make a profit, (econ 101) not to be compassionate. lets look at manufacturing and retail. I don't think selling a product for more than what it cost to manufacture is compassionate to the consumers. It is your right to make a profit, however its not compassion why you sold that product, it is because you see financial gain.

    September 14, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Dr. O

    Ron Paul is gift-wrapped and right under our noses. If the majority of this country does not have the sense to elect him, then they will get exactly the government they deserve, and I will have no sympathy.

    September 14, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. BlackDynamite

    He's right.
    No one there can lecture him on health care and compassion for the sick. He's lived it.
    BD

    September 14, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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