Ron Paul on debate's health care moment
September 14th, 2011
12:23 PM ET
7 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. ThinkAgain

    "Quit trying to depict Congressman Paul as some sort of monster who will leave people out on the streets who need critical care."

    Ron Paul is doing that all on his own by saying that freedom involves risks and if you choose to go without insurance, we should let you die.

    If that's what our country gets to, then all the holier-than-thou supposed "Christians" should STFU, because you are complete and total hypocrites and if Christ came today, he'd have NOTHING to do with you.

    September 14, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. fyi2day

    "Let'em Die"

    I am glad you are not attributing the "let'em die" quote to Paul as many others are in the media are. If you will pardon the pun, Paul is "dead" right on this. I will try and expand for you if I can on what many people believe who support Paul.

    I am sure we all hope and agree, that those shouting from the audience, "whose affiliations we can not know," do not themselves find a need for the kind of help and compassion someday our hypothetical 30 year old needs.

    This issue is not complicated it has only been made so by special interest. And yes, government bureaucracies are special interests too! Their job is to sustain or grow themselves and maintain their own jobs.

    Rhetoric aside, we all know the hypothetical man here will get treatment if for no other reason than the compassion of our great doctors and their own Hippocratic Oath. That has always been the way in America. Americans are a compassionate people already.

    Now the question defining how these costs should be paid for?
    Re-empowering our religious and other private charities through tax incentives provided to their donors is the simple answer. It is a free market approach that creates all the benefits of free market checks and balances. You create accountability here where there is little in government bureaucracy, especially one as large as to deal with this challenge nation wide. Charities get donors by doing good work and good work attracts "tax incented" donors to give support. As a culture we need to get back to looking to ourselves and our neighbors rather than putting faith in a far off federal government to handle challenges that are literally right in front of us locally.

    Localization should be reflected in the urging of our States to take back jurisdiction on issues that can be dealt with creatively at the state level. Empowering all 50 states & 1000’s of communities nationwide to solve these important issues we will create innovation that would be sought modified and perfected throughout the nation just as is done in any true free market. The benefits are undeniable and give us all the greatest opportunity to participate in real compassion in our country.

    Today a group of people lifted a burning car from a man and saved his life. People saw the need banded together and helped their neighbor the concept is the same. Where would that man be if they all just waited for the government to solve that? How successful would they have been and in the end what would it have cost?
    Those people created direct action to a problem in front of them in their community. They created a positive and successful outcome and it cost only the compassion in there hearts to do it. I’ll bet it made them feel good too!!!

    Do the American people really care if Goldman Sachs let's General Electric (Obama/Biden) or Halliburton (Bush/Cheney "insert Perry or Romney here") run the place this time? I guess that's yet to be seen. But, I can tell you many of us traditionally Non-politicals are fed up with losing the essence of our great country to communists and carpetbaggers alike.
    Ron Paul is offering an alternative to the corporatist model that Eisenhower warned of, and has all but taken over already. A vanished free press has left us with the left and right media outlets complicit in keeping Paul's message from a waiting public.
    If not Ron Paul we will surely end up with Clint Webb as president. So you must continue spread the word, educate your busy family, friends, and neighbors to spend an “honest hour” looking at Paul and convey the importance of Ron Paul getting that republican slot. Switch parties if you have to…

    "First they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win."
    They are beginning to fight… Make no mistake this is a fight for your very freedom and the fate of American liberty.
    The Government has too much, does too much, and in our high tech world now, knows far too much about the lives of private citizens and we are paying for it all...
    This can not stand it is not necessary and the temptation for corruption is far too great.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    – Ben Franklin –

    September 14, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Ian

    RP is the only guy who can get us out of this mess we are in. His ideas are not rocket science, they make sense. We need to be fiscally responsible and right now the Government is failing at it, both sides.

    This isn't about the TP being so evil they woudl let someone die it's that they arefed up with having to foot the bill for everyone else in this country. This is the big problem and what needs to end. Teh freebies and handouts needs ot end period except in cases where people are sick, old or dieing. Don't have a job? Bust your rear and get one. Don't have enough food on the table? Bust your rear and get a job to put food on the table.

    September 14, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine


    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.

    I sincerely hope you never need medical help, and I really hope you never have to face bankruptcy, as I did, over health care. Trust me, you don't want that feeling of trying to care for your child's needs with a reduced income and trying to figure out which bills you are going to pay that month. If you do, and if you turned to me for help, I would really have to struggle with telling you that I would exercise my free will and allow you to go bust, and laugh while they foreclose on your house. Is that the world you really want?

    September 14, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    Christ fed the poor.
    Christ said we are all children of God.
    Christ said we all deserve mercy.
    Christ said, "What you do to the least among you, you do to me."

    Every single one of these teabagging idiots should be ASHAMED of just how uncompassionate, self-centered, hypocritical, heartless and downright evil they are.

    September 14, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Anotheralt

    "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."

    And there are people who think he's not crazy? Fascinating. Our markets are clearly about nothing but profits, and it's not the government's fault. Try again Ron.

    September 14, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. Justin

    People amaze me....Really!!!! Everyone gets on their little blogs and message boards to post how they dislike so and so because he or she is such a bad liberal or republican....he or she is too right wing or left wing....Does everyone honestly see how we are polarized as a nation?....because it has been the same old storyfor over 20 years!!!!......Here is a little tidbit folks....about 95% of those in Hog-washington D.C would tell you exactly what you wanna's called political spin....The media eats it up because, THEY ARE TOOLS being told what they can and can't say just to get approval from their CEO and too increase their ratings (so someone named Wolf Blitzer doesn't get his precious 2 hours in the national spotlight cancelled!!!). Wake up people for the love of all that is holy!!!!!! This is the reason our country will fail within 10 years....because we are becoming the TOOLS WHO EAT WHAT THEY FORCE FEED DOWN OUR THROATS!!!! The old saying goes "Do as the Romans Do". Well our beautiful America is doing just that....ANOTHER EMPIRE ON THE VERGE OF DESTROYING ITSELF!!!!!

    September 14, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Donald Ivory

    1) The first word that came out of his mouth was "no" to the question of whether the man should be allowed to die.
    2) The hypothetical man made a good living but chose not to pay for insurance. He will be treated but he will be responsible for paying the bill. If it means he's in debt the rest of his life, so be it.
    3) In the brief time allotted to answer, Dr. Paul explained that government interference and corporatism (as well as inflation) over the years has raised the cost of medicine. The free market will bring prices back down.
    4) Dr. Paul has serviced hundreds and thousands of uninsured in his lifetime and people paid what they could. To label him a killer or a monster is asinine.
    5) 2 or 3 people shouted "yes." If this wasn't a planned smear tactic then I don't know what is. Make the teabaggers look like monsters (they are, I agree with that) and the only sensible candidate that is a threat to the establishment look horrible at the same time. This attack was brought to you by the war mongering banksters. And most of you ate it up.

    September 14, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Why are conservatives so afraid of compassion, ans why are they willing to go to such lengths to jsutify selfisheness? I remember hearing a story a bout a French philospher of contended the freet people in the world were in prison. When told how idiotic this argument was, he replied, " Their minds are free".

    Paul's arguments about freedom are on the same level as this. He's obviously has had a lot of time to consider the tyranny of government while drawing a congressional paycheck and perks, yet he lectures people on the evils of a system that has benefitted him enormously on a personal level, giving him a platform to rant for over 3 decades.

    September 14, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. arguablybetter

    "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 ignoramus. Why don't you watch the full answer before adding a stupid comment

    September 14, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Renton

    Is it surprising that someone shouted "Yeah?"
    This is the same crowd of people who boo'ed Ron Paul when he asked people that it's important to understand the root cause of 9/11. The booing became louder when he brought up Palestine, a state oppressed by a brutal military 'occupation' from our biggest ally, who we provide tax dollars to, Israel [dont expect an article on that on CNN]. If collectively, we introspect, we will realize that the idea of "freedom" and "liberties" is just a fallacy that we believe in. Our foreign policy and support for military dictators reveals the startling truth & reality. Gingrich went on to say "Whats happening in Syria and Turkey is scary". Power of the people to trampling a brutal dictator/puppet is scary? Fighting for a democracy is scary? Perhaps it is scary for pro-establishment folks like Gingrich. There will be no positive change in America until the general public is educated enough to understand the simple truth that Ron Paul is an honest man and not controlled by lobbyists. That alone, merits a nomination.

    September 14, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. Tjeffson

    Ron is right. Insurance is for catastrophic care, ie heart attack, cancer, major accident etc. We need to revamp this entire situation and put the responsibility back on the individual and get govt completely out. Tort reform with limits on payout and loser pays, a "menu" of prices at every hospital and doctors office so you can see what things will cost before hand, remove all govt mandates on insurance, eliminate medicare / medicaid to get rid of the fraud (bet you didn't know that Congress allows doctors to charge private insurance holders many times over the same fee they charge people on medicare for the exact same procedures) and finally stop paying for drugs and procedures that only extend life for a few months at best... if people want those then they can buy insurance privately to cover them at their own expense. You cannot continue to pay 100,000 for a drug that extends the life of a prostate cancer victim by 4 months at best and still be able to maintain this system.

    Treat health insurance like car insurance and reform the medical industry in the correct ways . But most of all, get govt out of it completely.

    September 14, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. Sebastian

    I still have not heard a clear YES or NO answer to the question. Ron Paul is usually so quick to express his radical opinions, why not now? Trying to hide behind, "I'm a doctor and . . . " means nothing. Besides, you haven't practiced medicine in 30 years, things have changed.

    Ron, if your Libertarian beliefs call for you to say the person is SOL, just say so, and let the political chips fall where they may.

    September 14, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Doug

    Unfortunately most "liberal bloggers" fail to accurately post Wolf's question and leave out:

    "A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, you know what? I’m not going to spend $200 or $300 a month for health insurance because I’m healthy, I don’t need it."

    This made up guy CHOSE not to get insurance, even though it would have been affordable. Being the strapping young guy he is, he most likely opted for a convertible and lake house in a gated community.

    Why should the government stop at paying for this guys medical bills, why don't they pay for his mortgage that he overextended himself on too. Or better yet, why doesn't the government just trade his mortgage in for one half the size?

    Meanwhile on the other side of town, I'm paying for my health insurance, paying my mortgage on my affordable townhouse, and driving around in my beat up Honda. Can I bend over a little more to make it any easier?

    September 14, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Susan in Warrenville

    If the question posed was really "Should someone who fails to pay the $200 to $300 per month for health insurance die?" the question was wildly unrealistic. For a person with any type of health problem or one who is 55+, private premiums can easily run $700 to $1600 per month. And that is with a $3,000 to $5,000 annual deductable (double for a family) and annual out of pocket expense of $7,500 to $10,000 (again, double for a family.) Most small business owners just cannot afford that type of money.

    And that's only if private insurance is available. Insurance companies still have the right to turn you down if you have ever been sick a day in your life.

    Even the new healthcare reform PHIP program for those with preexisting conditions is $450 per month in most states. And it requires that you be declined for coverage first, which basically makes you uninsurable for life if the Republicans overturn health reform.

    People aren't failing to purchase insurance because they are irresponsible. They are failing to purchase insurance because it's a choice between paying the mortgage or car payment and buying health insurance.

    September 14, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. scottbourne

    So essentially the so-called "pro-life" Christians don't care about you once you are born. They are only "pro-life" if you are still in the womb.

    September 14, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    The real death panels are the teapublikans. We have been saying so for years.
    Who is going to pay for it paul? You still didn't answer the question.

    September 14, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. dC

    You idiots that keep claiming that Rand was named after Ayn Rand are wrong. His full name is Randall and just went by Rand. He was not named after the author and Ron has expressed plenty of times that he enjoyed reading Rand's work but doesn't believe in her total philosophy of self.

    September 14, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Marie MD

    Forgot to say that Dr. Oz had a show about ovarian cancer and one of the women who came to the free clinic said she did so because she had all the symptoms but had no healthcare!!!
    Yes, this is the America where only the rich will live long and prosper. The rest of us can die and go to heck!

    September 14, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Susan in Warrenville

    Dr. S.

    I must be older than you are. I remember when people went to medical school because they were compassionate, not because they wanted to be wealthy. I have a good friend who has a PhD. and teaches High School English. He went to school a long time. Why should an M.D. earn more than he does? For that matter, why should an M.D,. earn more than a college professor? Or more than a research psychologist?

    It's true that an M.D. needs an IQ over 100, but we probably do not need the "best and brightest" in the medical field. Most diagnostics are done by tests now anyway.

    It seems like one of many problems with healthcare is that we have two generations of greedy doctors who got in it for the money. Greed does not necessarily make one a good doctor. If we eliminate the wealth factor, we'll end up with people who are passionate about medicine and healing. Makes sense to me. It seems to work fine in other countries.

    September 14, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. Jack V

    The problem isn't with Paul's answer, the problem is with the crowd's blood lust. These people are just creepy.

    September 14, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. Columbus

    I agree with a lot of Ron Paul's talking points, and I get what he is saying, I grew up in the 50's and 60's and most of us didn't have health insurance, my parents had five of us kids and paid out of pocket for everything. My teeth were crooked, the wealthy kids got braces, I didn't, we couldn't afford it. We didn't run to the hospital unless someone was bleeding so bad we couldn't stop it at home. The doctors also knew when to give a patient a break, this was back in the day when he lived in the same town his patients were from, so he knew who had money to pay and who didn't. But that's not how it is today, doctors belong to health networks or partnerships that do not know the patient, they only know you don't make money unless the patient pays. People are also part of the problem, they'll go to an emergency room for a cough or a splinter. We have to deal with this problem, like it or not, it isn't good enough to say insure yourself or too bad. We could do that, but if I recall the lifespan of the 50's and 60's was probably a lot less than it is today and and mortality rates were likely higher. Does it makes sense to move backwards?

    September 14, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  23. Doug

    Hey Susan in Warrenville,
    Again, the question started as "A healthy 30-year-old young man",
    not a 55+ with health problems!

    September 14, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Philip2

    "Oh, don't worry about him," says the Libertarian. "Someone will help him."


    September 14, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. Doug

    Jack V, it's not blood lust, it's just that hard working Americans are tired of being bent over backwards for others gaming the system.

    September 14, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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