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. Zenichi-Maro

    "Doctor" Paul's total lack of repudiation ofthe person in the crowd who yelled "Yes" to great applause is what's most troubling. While I agree with much of what Mr. Paul says about our fiat currency, the illegal drug war, and the need to end our wars of empire in the middle east, he is completely wrong on healthcare. It's not a commodity. It's a right and a responsiblity for a civilized (which I suppose America still is) democracy (ditto).

    September 14, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. let the post-9/11 mindset die

    @left coast:

    I'd settle for returning to the 20th Century, at this point.

    I'm voting for Dr Paul.

    September 14, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. BlackDynamite

    The real question is why does France, Canada, even Cuba, have effective National health care systems, and we can't get one together?
    BD

    September 14, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Jay

    I hope that EVERY single person who stands in the way of someone receiving healthcare, or states to let a human die because they can't pay for it, ends up painfully seeing the other side of their truly inhuman view.

    God, what a sick planet and what a truly sick bunch of people those TPers. Applauding at death? Is that what your endeavour is in this miracle called life, to block someone else from living?

    I wish all those who oppose healthcare end up with the terrible health conditions they so easily dismiss and relegate to death. I'd love to ask them if they have a different view and point out their hypocrasy.

    September 14, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Mr. Paul never said "Yes" or "No." Someone shouted, and he gestured with his hand to the crowd. He opened his mouth to speak, *nothing* came out as the crowd noise roared. Then, Rep. Paul proceeded to explain how to pay for the medical expenses through church donations. Mr. Paul never said, "No." The first word out of his mouth was not, "No." He never said it.

    I case you haven't noticed, that is the whole point of the article, people. That is why he is being asked about it. Believe what you want, the American people have heard what the man couldn't bring himself to say out loud. He made excuses debate night, and is still making them now.

    September 14, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Altona Pugh

    i thought i had heard it all but this tops it all if you were on the fence on how you are going to vote this should be the defining point. these people call themslves christian, imitators of Christ where is the love where is the compassion where is the empathy.Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. i have always beleived that the tea party which only came into existence since this president came into office. are insensitve ,callus and yes evil people with the agenda to disgrace this presdent. these people don't have a clue about nothing. pure unadulterated evil how you say someone should die and then applaud it. evil saddam huiesan evil hilter evil.forgive them LORD they no not what they say and do. them

    September 14, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Joe Mama

    @Mike from MN: Do you drive your car without insurance? Why? Would you personally go without health insurance? Why? If someone knows the risks but decides not to get insurance, should there be consequences? Should we force them to get insurance by law? Should we have lots of laws that force everyone from making any stupid choices? Who decides what is and it not stupid?

    How about this? He doesn't die. The ambulance comes, he gets the care he needs, he lives. A couple of weeks later he gets a bill for $500,000. Ok? Same as if he had driven a car without insurance and crashed into a house and caused $500k of damage. Or is that not good enough for you? No human should ever have any problem in their life no matter what choices they make?

    September 14, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. David

    Ron Paul 2012

    September 14, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Susan in Warrenville

    You never hear anyone talk about the cost of healthcare in terms of lost production. Sick people and people in pain are less productive. They work fewer hours and get less done per hour. This hurts the economy, because ultimately, it is productivity (not the stock market or big business) that drives the economy. So just in financial terms, improved healthcare for everyone benefits all of us.

    September 14, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. martyr_rabbit

    Perfect fallacy here of a false dilemma. What'll it be? Government-funded health care, or DEATH?

    So, the 30-year-old man in the example doesn't have a FAMILY that could help him out? It's never stated one way or the other in the question.

    He doesn't have any FRIENDS who might be able to, say, help him raise the necessary funds for a procedure? Does he attend a place of worship?

    Why is this guy, who has a "good job," such a hermit all of a sudden? And if he is a hermit... would anyone be the wiser if he did end up dying? Kevin Liptak probably wouldn't care about it. Neither would Wolf Blitzer.

    The fact that those criteria aren't even addressed shows that this is a totally fallacious question in the first place; nothing more than an argument from pity.

    September 14, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Dr. S

    Every American wants access to the highest level of healthcare they see provided in this country and in an ideal world they would get it. We do not live in an ideal world! What most people do not realize is that the only reason that level healthcare exists is due to a relatively free market environment. Do you really think the best and brightest from our universities will want to fork over 200k to go to medical school just to come out and be a glorified public servant? The caliber of talented people attracted to a medical profession will drastically decrease over the years, that is a fact. The question remains, should we destroy our healthcare system and stifle scientific innovation in order to give everyone equal care?

    September 14, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    I hope Ron Paul gets seriously ill, his insurance company drops him and he goes through all his and his family's savings before he dies a miserable, painful death.

    Oh, wait. Because of Obamacare, his insurance company can't drop him – that is if he weren't a Congressman and covered for the rest of his life by taxpayer-provided health insurance.

    I'm adding "nasty," "cold-hearted" and "cruel" to my list of adjectives describing this loony old man.

    September 14, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Kathleen Farrell

    What people don't get is that hospital ERs cannot turn patients away by law. So to manage the expense, costs are folded in when negotiating customers' rates with the insurance companies. The few uninsured, the more the insured pay through their premiums. So one way or another you pay – whether your taxes help the less fortunate or you help an insurance giant get fatter.

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

    The saddest and scariest part was when asked if people without healthcare should die during the debate, people from the audience shouted Yes. These are the same people who said Obama's healthcare plan had death panels.

    September 14, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. PAUL

    I am that man. Mid-30's. Never had a health problem. I'm self-employed. I choose not to buy insurance. I could. After all I spent over $60,000 on my car. But I choose not to buy insurance because it makes no financial sense. I know that if I have a long-term chronic problem (like cancer) I'll fly to Mexico or India to get it treated and the cost will be less than what I'd have paid for insurance. And if I have an immediate emergency (hit by a car) the government requires the hospitals to give me treatment whether or not I can pay. So I like the current system. But I agree it's not fair. To all these people who insist we need to collectively take care of people.... If that means collective health care, surely it means food too. And the fact is it has been tried before. That's what the Soviet Union and communism are all about. Communism is supposed to be the most compassionate system around, and supposed to stand in stark contrast to cruel, heartless capitalism. But the reality is that in the end communism is less compassionate than dog-eat-dog capitalism. It's just human nature that if there's some big government telling us they'll take care of us, then we don't take care of ourselves. If Ron Paul wins, so I'll have to go out and buy health insurance. At least with Ron Paul you know he won't be invading foreign nations and riling up terrorists to strike us. He made an excellent point. We worked with Gadaffi to get him to give up his nukes. And when he did, just a couple years later, we bombed him into oblivion. What message does that send to Iran re: their nukes? Ron Paul is the only one who is pointing this out.

    September 14, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    "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."

    Oh, BS! When solely profit drives business decisions, then companies don't care if they make people sick or kill them. That's the rationale behind insurance companies dropping people who become sick: It's too expensive to pay for their care. That's the rationale for companies dumping toxic waste, contaminating drinking water, causing people to become sick and die. Heck, the auto industry fought putting seat belts in cars because it was "too expensive."

    Ron Paul is not only heartless, he's naive. He should go live in China, where industry isn't burdened by these silly regulations. And while he's there, he should use some anti-freeze-laden toothpaste and chew on some lead-filled kids toys.

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

    I am that man. Mid-30's. Never had a health problem. I'm self-employed. I choose not to buy insurance. I could. After all I spent over $60,000 on my car. But I choose not to buy insurance because it makes no financial sense. I know that if I have a long-term chronic problem (like cancer) I'll fly to Mexico or India to get it treated and the cost will be less than what I'd have paid for insurance. And if I have an immediate emergency (hit by a car) the government requires the hospitals to give me treatment whether or not I can pay. So I like the current system. But I can see that it's not fair.

    September 14, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    "@Sniffit, He will get the nomination. Go tell your cronies that they are going to lose this battle."

    I hope Ron Paul does get it – then the majority of Americans can kick his sorry little behind down the toilet, along with the other teabaggers!

    September 14, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    ...and if that person could not raise money on his own, Rep Paul would let them die on their own. That was Rep. Paul's answer. He offered up an excuse not to use tax dollars. He dodged the simple yes/no question.

    September 14, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. PAUL

    I am that man. Mid-30's, healthy, self-employed. I choose not to buy insurance. I could. But it makes no financial sense. If I have a long-term chronic problem I'll fly overseas for treatment that costs less than what I'd have paid for insurance. And if I have an immediate emergency the government requires the hospitals to give me treatment whether or not I can pay. So I like the current system. But I agree it's not fair.

    September 14, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. ECM from Tucson

    I'd like to ask Rep. Paul a few more questions about the hospitals he worked in during the 1960s. Did they have a CEO, shareholders they were obligated to produce profits for, part of a larger nation-wide conglomeration of corporations? In other words, were these hospitals in the 60s working under a for profit framework? I think not. Also, I'd like to ask him what he believes would happen when we take away the tax-exempt status of religious organizations (which would make sense under libertarianism, no?)? Would they have enough to support the indigent?

    Does Rep. Paul envision sick poor people going on reality tv shows to see who deserves charity to get well? Because I don't envision charities having the funding to support all of our poor (46 mil and counting!). So we can have a "Who wants to win a heart transplant" show, sponsored by Merck.

    Finally, to all of Paul supporters out there – he continually argues that his ideas "theoretically" work. Will they work practically? Can you point me to historical or current instances of Libertarian governments that are/were successful?

    September 14, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. Jay

    Did the people insinuating that Ron Paul is a heartless person even WATCH the debate or LISTEN to Ron Paul's answer? He said nothing of leting someone die. You simpletons amaze me.

    September 14, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    "Major medical. Major medical. Major medical. Just like it was back in the 60's. Medical insurance was never meant to cover the sniffles."

    Boy, are you an idiot! Preventive care – things like immunizations, annual checkups and cancer screenings – plus treatment for contagious diseases like strep throat or ones that won't kill you but keep you from work, like sinus infections, in the long run COST LESS.

    Personally, I want to live in THIS century, not the last. And you've got your history wrong: By the late 1950s, hospitals employed far more people than the steel industry, the automobile industry, and interstate railroads. And while 1 in every 8 Americans was admitted annually to a hospital as an inpatient, the need was for more than just those conditions covered by "major medical."

    It's unthinking imbeciles like you that are ruining our country and letting jerks like the teabaggers impact policy.

    September 14, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    "Furthermore, without the Federal Goverment involved, health care costs would go down, makeing care easier to access for people without insurance."

    If that's the case, then why have health insurance costs been skyrocketing for the last 10-15 years, to the point where most individuals can't afford a policy on their own and many small businesses have stopped providing health insurance because they can't afford it?

    Why don't YOU start making sense with your statements?

    September 14, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Scott, Philadelphia, PA

    The crazy thing here is that this was not just one person in the audience. More than one yeah was heard and the round of applause following the yeah! appeared to be MOST of the crowd. Watch the video and see for yourself. It seems like what gets these people really going is talk of government executions and withholding healthcare to people they catetorize as not taking responsibility for themselves. So much for the hypocratic oath Dr. Paul.

    September 14, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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