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. jeremy

    "you reap what you sow applies to all!" How about all the fat people that are killing themselves daily, knowingly doing it, and not even having the decency to buy a policy to help stem the "taxpayer's" burder! Shame on the US of LAZY A!

    September 14, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. maximumken

    This is a real problem and Paul's evasions don't help. About 50,000 Americans die every year because they don't have insurance. They put off medical treatment because they don't have insurance, it's too late, and they die. Blitzer should have asked him if this is an acceptable consequence of his philosophy.

    September 14, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. aed939

    What's the big deal with this question? That's the way it is now. He is responsible for payment. He doesn't die. He just has to work out a payment plan. He is free to seek financial help from friends, family, and private organizations. Actually, today, you would indirectly get some subsidy from the federal government because you would deduct your medical expenses.

    September 14, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. SNAPPA

    So the tea baggers are for death panles after all. Like the Nazis before them leaving people to die without any compassion is what this country will be like if anymore tea baggers get into office.

    September 14, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Saboth

    I have to kind of chuckle at people stating "The government is the worst choice to provide healthcare for Americans". Who is the better choice? Corporations that are ONLY (and I do mean only) concerned with turning a profit? Their number one priority is providing the least amount of services and compensation possible, and getting rid of anyone that actually needs coverage. Can I vote a greedy CEO out of office? No. What would be the government's motive to deny coverage or have "death panels" or other such nonsense? None.

    September 14, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. ggwindsor

    JACK V-your right

    September 14, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Micah

    This article leaves out the most important thing he said when he was speaking, and the meat of how to decrease health care costs: "There’s no competition in medicine. Everybody is protected by licensing. And we should actually legalize alternative health care, allow people to practice what they want."

    September 14, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. jmkerdoc

    I'm a big CNN fan, but the question and the subsequent coverage seemed like a set up for Ron Paul. Ron Paul isn't the villain here. His comments about personal responsibility are fair. Personal responsibility seems to be something in short supply in our country these days. The villain here is the insurance industry that created the "preexisting conditions" rule which prevented Paul's friend and campaign manager from being able to obtain insurance. We need affordable insurance without exclusionary clauses.

    September 14, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. David

    "Free markets... the most compassionate systems ever known to mankind" ??? This is total nonsense propaganda to appease the Social Darwinist Tea Party. Free markets are about profits and the right to own private property, with no inherent, moral, or natural obligation to social welfare or compassion.

    September 14, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Joe

    An individual, group, or society that expresses compassion and legislating compassion are different.

    September 14, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. common sense

    Q: if anybody not paying insurance fee shall get covered, why should anybody paying for the insurance fee?

    It's like saying if anybody not studying for exam shall not get a failed grade, what's the point of the taking the exam?

    September 14, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    If he's think fuzzy in his thinking and ability to communicate, then he doesn't deserve to be Prez (along with the fact that he's a cold-hearted nutjob).

    September 14, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. Brian K

    Ron Paul doesn't know what he is talking about. Our system is "free-er" than most any system. It is the countries that have socialized health coverage that have the best health outcomes in the world. Private industry cares about profit, not people. What a fool...and even more so the fools who scream "yeah!" about people dying due to lack of health coverage.

    September 14, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. Pyrometman

    @Rudy NYC

    You wrote: "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. "

    Now I know you are just being dishonest. I just went back and watched that part of the debate again and he did say "NO" at the same time there were some in the crowd yelling "YEAH!" You didn't listen or didn't watch all of the exchange. He said "NO" just after Wolf asked if "society should let him die?"

    September 14, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Indy

    Thirty two of thirty three developed nations have Universal Healthcare, guess which country is so divided they cant even agree that everyone should have access to a Government implemented health care system. It is pathetic how far behind the US is falling in behind in healthcare,education, innovation.

    September 14, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Astounded

    People are missing the point. If someone chooses not have medical insurance then you pay the consequences. You pay the bill, be accoutable for your choices. I pay for medical insurance and pay out the whazoo. Who wants to pay, really? I don't want to pay either but I also don't expect others to pick up my slack just because I DONT WANT TO PAY. Be responsible for oneself, seriously!

    September 14, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    LOL. My initial remark about Rep. Paul was not intended to be factually accurate.

    September 14, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. Jenmd

    This debate makes me increasingly more worried. I am a 30-something healthcare profressional in an inner-city facility. Every day i watch more and more 'middle-class' Americans walk through the door who have lost thier jobs, drained their life savings paying COBRA and the rent and are now diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. I find the perspectives of these politicians to be so unrealistic in that only people who are lucky enough to have employer-based health care would have a $200 insurance policy, like their hypothetical 30 y.o. male. Most people I see and know don't choose to go uninsured. They desperetly want to be uninsured, but can't afford the $1200/mo BCBS premium. Politicians need to wake up and realize that we are not all lucky enough to have the best healtcare in the universe that is paid for by the taxes of the middle class Americans... and have the audacity to sit and try to delegate how all others should receive care. I challange all politicians to call their local insurance companies and get a quote for their family to get a REAL idea of how high health care premiums are in this country. I watched the debate and understand that Ron Paul did not answer 'yes' to this question, but it makes me sick that any person who calls themselves a 'Christian' or relgious person would answer in such a way. I am a Christian and my Bible and God teach me to take care of the poor and the sick. I may not attend church every Sunday, but I sure hope there is a place in heaven for someone like me who has to face all of the people who will die as a result of this greed.

    September 14, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    The problem with people not buying health insurance is that it raises the cost for all of us who do purchase health insurance. It is like a store that suffers loses due to shoplifters. Let's call those who do not purchase insurance, but recieve medical services "health care lifters".

    A store compensates for loses by raising their prices. Health care providers do the same thing. Thses costs are passed along to health insurers, and finally to the consumer who uses the health care services. I find that to be an unacceptable state of affairs. Health care lifters need to be made to pay for the cost of their own health care so that I don't have to. If you like paying for someone else's health care, then your priorities are mixed up.

    September 14, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. hmmm

    I was just on a Continental flight that changed its food from airline selects it for you into a charge for your food with options. The meals are way better now, but you have to pay for them. Healthcare would be way better if the government didnt select it for you, just like this example of the food on airlines. and well you know... The 200 dollar band aid type of thing is a ridiculous scam of thees lame bearacratic systems.

    September 14, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. David

    The reality is that somebody decides when the care is too expensive. But the choice is simply between private or public. For me, I would rather have a public care system decide if I should have a heart transplant or something expensive. That is because in a public system, decisions are made by elected officials, policy is made public, statistics, and methods are accessable. In a private system like we have now, everything is done behind closed doors. False advertising rules public opinion and the constitution protects the private companies from scrutiny. If a public system doesn't work, it can be changed through public debate and legislative process. You can't do this easily with private companies because they are "private."

    September 14, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. tannim

    Dr. Paul's answer to BLitzer's trap question was spot-on. Those commenters who falsely decry a "lack of compassion" mistake health insurance for health care and really just crying for more of someone else to take care of you instead of being responsible for yourselves like true adults.

    In my most recent unemployment I made sure I had insurance to cover care, non-COBRA because it was 75% cheaper and better coverage, but I also made sure I stayed healthy and ddin't do anything stupid to endanger my health, both for my family and my job hunt, despite that extremely high-strees period. I also dropped 50 pounds of fat by eating smarter and exercising more. The point is that I took responsibility for my health care as eery rational adult should, did not rely on the state for it, and I became a healthier person as a result.

    Compassion begins not with government but with the individual, and to claim that Dr. Paul, he who has delivered over 4000 babies, has 18 grandchildren, and has been a flight surgeon in the USAF fixing wounded Vietnam vets, has no compassion, well, that's just total cluelessness. Yes, the call of "Yes" by a crowd member was made by a dolt. But that wasn't Dr. Paul either, and neither he nor the Tea Party as a whole should be tarred and feathered by anyone, let alone clueless statists on both the left and right. Guilt by association is simply kindergarten sandbox stupidity and a clear sign of a very poor mind. If a person is unwilling to judge a candidate or position on its merits instead of by soundbites and spin by other people with an agenda, then that person has no business voting.

    September 14, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. Whaler

    Mabey they want to die. It was a very open question with no facts. How critically ill? They may have a living trust that states they do not want further care.

    September 14, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. tannim

    BTW, one last thing: if government pays for your care of your body, then it owns your body, and it will dicate to you what you can do with it–including whether you live or die. So for those that think the hypothetical 30-year-old with the self-chosen lack of insuarance is left to die, think again–it's more likely that with government-run health care they would deny his treatment (or not allow crucial parts of it!) and he'd die that way. Such is what happens when one abdicates pesonal responsibility of the most important thing–one's health–to faceless others far away with no stake in the outcome.

    As a sovereign citizen, born free, I own my own body and I make the calls on its health and maintenance, for better or for worse. DO YOU?

    September 14, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  25. Tillie in Texas

    When people show you who they are, beleive them.

    Thanks CNN, for allowing the Republicans & TeaParty to show the rest of us exactly who they really are.

    September 14, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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