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. Firing Back

    If you want universal healthcare you have three choices
    1) 100% market based system, which means that you buy insurance, pay out of pocket, or die
    2) taxpayer funded healthcare
    3) Government mandated insurance

    Right now we have the least efficient system possible where those who cannot afford to pay out of pocket and have chosen to not purchase insurance use the most expensive delivery method and require the expense of bill collectors which then has to be absorbed by those who have done the responsible thing. Of the three options, Government mandated insurance seems to be the most palatable, unless you like the current inefficient system.

    September 14, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Giovanni

    He said that as a doctor he never turned anyone down, so no he wouldn't let him die. You people just hate anything with an 'R' after their name and that's exactly what blinds you from the fact that Obama lets innocent Iraqi's, Pakistani's and Afghans die, through predator drone strikes and occupation. He answered clearly. I don't know why you animals are foaming at the mouth for.

    September 14, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. mochica

    It's not a question of CHOOSING to pay for medical care, many people simply cannot despite having 2 or 3 part-time jobs. The prices are not within reach for many and too many employers are unable to offer coverage to their employees. For the people who want to let the poor die because they are unable to pay their bills (not unwilling), which are kept extraordinarily high by greedy doctors, hospital boards, investors, big pharma and of course insurance companies, God will judge you by how you treat the most vulnerable in this world. Besides, how strong of a country are when we wish harm upon our fellow citizens. A nation divided...

    September 14, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. Nick77

    To everyone on here who has said Ron Paul should have responded to the idiots in the crowd at the debate: HE DID!!!!!! HE SAID "NO, YOU DON'T LET THEM DIE," and then described how private charity can fill the void (after a transition period – he is not advocating the immediate abolition of Medicaid, etc.) Shame on CNN for not including his response. Mind you, this is the same crowd which booted and jeered Dr. Paul later when he was speaking truth to power about the U.S. government's militaristic and hegemonic foreign policy.

    September 14, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. amarjeet s sehmi

    Ron Paul defense of his healthcare philosophy & thoughts for those American citizens who have no insurance coverage is undemocratic, un-American & unconstitutional. Equality of all men & women gives out without any element of ambiguity that all will be given medical facility & coverage to survive for & in America. It does not need compassion, it is responsibility of American people & governance to ensure that spirit of constitution & human justice survives with dignity & legally.

    September 14, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. logic66

    Sniffitt, you should have actually watched the debate, because the media and you have "turned it around". The question was actually this, "What if a man decides not to buy into his companies health insurance program at $200. per month and then becomes critically ill – should the government pay for his care"? Do you believe otherwise? Every other American should not have to pay for the stupid decisions of many.

    September 14, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. Michael

    Bowser, you said it better than I could've: Wow people here are sooo misinformed! Ron Paul DID say no when an audience member yelled "Yes", and he followed up by saying that he practiced medicine before our current system was implemented and it worked better. He also mentioned that community was integral in caring for the needy. Our new reliance on the government to take care of everything has destroyed this sense of community. Ron Paul wants to lessen our reliance on government. And Dr. W, please! Ron Paul was the only person who voted AGAINST Iraq! Really, do you read anything? He also voted against the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which when passed, allowed banks to play with your money – directly contributing to the economic crisis. So he is for MORE regulation in that case. Communism is big government, please do some research. Ron Paul was right about everything in regards to this crisis and IS right about our foreign policy, something these neanderthals can't comprehend when they believe that Bin Laden attacked us because we have freedom and drink Starbucks. Give me a break!

    September 14, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. R

    Ron Paul said he would NOT let the man die. He stated that it "used to be" that charity would take care of this man. His compassion for the dieing man , and the USA is one in the same. I am willing to take the hit that his policies will surely meet out, to give my children a future.

    September 14, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. bob


    i guess you get your info from liberal blogs, because i am a physician and hospitals and emergency rooms must treat anyone who comes through the door regardless of ability to pay. Ron Paul's comments were taken from the question that the person in question had plenty of money to pay for insurance but chose not to, therefore it is not the taxpayers responsibility to pay for his healthcare if he chooses not too. Taxpayers like myself are tired of paying for other peoples bad decisions. No one else is responsible for you or your liberal loser friends. Take care of yourself and your family and stop asking other people to do it.

    September 14, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. Toejam

    The issue is not the one 30 year old who chooses not to get insurance; it's the millions who can't get it. If you have ever been sick, if you are 15-20 lbs. overweight, if you are on any meds, you will be turned down in the free market, and if you are not turned down, if you do get sick they can drop you because you are no longer profitable to them. That is what the Dems are trying to resolve and what the Reps are fighting so hard to get back. Republicans will tell you that if your five year old daughter is irresponsible enough to get leukemia, she deserves to die.

    September 14, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Mike Brooks

    Here's the point. I buy medical insurance. It costs myself and my wife A LOT and it comes out of our food budget this year. We don't eat out! Now the local hospital has two campuses and one of them, liikly the older one in the larger city, is going to be shut down because a full third of the people using those hospitals are uninsured. Sure, a few of them are even poorer than we are, but that is very few of them. Most of them are illegal immigrants, 70% of the nonpaying freeloaders and the rest are "homeless (by choice). I actively don't want them seen, covered, or helped. Let them die.

    September 14, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. Hans Rubec

    I find it rather amusing that a lot of those who are commenting didn't bother to listen to the man, and then have the ignorance to comment on what they chose to hear. Dr. paul is a doctor, and he said that he treated patients BEFORE there was anything like Medicaid or Medicare...interesting that he never refused to treat anyone based on their ability to pay. Sorry, detractors, but the man walked the walk. Can any of you say that? I didn't think so. So please, by all means, vote for the one that tells you what you want to hear. but don't be surprised when our country continues to be bankrupt. You can spend your old age explaining to your grand children why they have to pay for your stupidity.

    September 14, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. bob

    those ron paul haters here need to actually listen to the scenario presented which was if someone of means chose not to buy insurance and gets injured requiring 6 months of critical care, should he be denied care and allowed to die, he did not say yes he simply said that its not the taxpayers responsibility to pay for his choices. its time for americans to start taking care of themselves and stop asking for taxpayers to pay for their bad decisions, stop buying flat screen tv's, getting nfl sunday ticket, escalades, air jordans, iphones and buy your own insurance

    September 14, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. George

    Tea Party = Western Taliban. They just want you to Die!

    September 14, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  15. Hans Rubec

    Ron Paul treated patients that couldn't pay, and he did that BEFORE there was Medicaid or Medicare. Sounds like a real Doctor to me.

    September 14, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. skarphace

    The same people (the Tea Party) are saying both "let the uninsured rely on charity" and "don't take my money to help others". So where does that leave the charity? It is clear that these people would not help you if your life depended on it.

    Therefore, the only members of the Tea Party who aren't hypocrites were those yelling 'Yeah' to the question of letting the uninsured die and those who applauded that remark.

    September 14, 2011 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Hans Rubec

    Ron Paul treated patients that couldn't pay. Never refused anyone. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

    September 14, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  18. OFF2theGYM

    If you you refuse healthcare, then you get what you pay for! Car insurance is mandatory, health insurance should also be mandatory. There are always stipulations, but for anyone able to get healthcare and chooses not to... well, live at your own risk! Go Ron Paul!!!

    September 14, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  19. judith

    How absurd. Old Ron Paul is nothing more than the living embodiment of the awful Ayn Rand and her idea that you should always just be looking out for number one, and to hell with everyone else. What he wants is a system where the rich will get top notch care (as in Richard B. (War Criminal Extraordinaire) Cheney and the poor will die. If American ever becomes that kind of society, we might as well give up because it would will no longer a country anyone can be proud to live in. He's a shameless old man, and a clueless one and a disgrace to the medical profession.

    September 14, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. what I heard

    When the noise died down, Mr Paul went on to say "I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid, in the early 1960s, when I got out of medical school. I practiced at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio, and the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals," said Paul to additional applause. "And we've given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves. Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it. This whole idea, that's the reason the cost is so high. The cost is so high because they dump it on the government, it becomes a bureaucracy," he added.

    September 14, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. Dave Evans

    Look, as far as I can tell, both Dem's and Rep's are for welfare; they just give it to different people. Conservatives insist spending money on your poor neighbors' health is a waste. Liberals insist spending money on war is a waste. Too bad you're both wrong and all your policies do is drive up the cost of whatever your funding. All I hear from these folks spending insurance money or tax payer money is, “well it’s not your money”, so does it really matter if you've over-billed? Yes, it sure does. Dems and Reps have taken part in and are compliant with fraud. We are supposed to have a three part government, not this retarded two-parties-of-liars system. We're becoming a nation full of jeks trying rip each other off.

    September 14, 2011 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. T'sah from Virginia

    The CROWD roared "DIE" that's all that matters!!! As far as Ron Paul – he did, in reality, said NO but his final remarks were "SHAKY" and troubling.

    September 14, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. tffl

    Paul indicated that he understands the medical system and that he is compassionate, but he never really said what his health care approach would be. According to earlier statements (also found on his web site), he believes doctors should be in charge of all health care decisions (not surprising, since he is a doctor) and that the poor should get health care, not by being provided it as part of society (that is, by the government) but purely by donations of time and resources by doctors (and one assumes hospitals and other healthcare providers). That is, if you are too poor to buy your healthcare, then you will get healthcare only if the providers choose to give it to you for free as a charity. I would guess that this is roughly the same as saying the poor will (on average) get no healthcare, but it sounds better...

    September 14, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  24. twosense

    With auto insurance there is the option to buy just liability, and not full insurance. The 30yr might have chosen this type of option for health insurance, if it was an option.

    Dr paul talked to this when he explained there is very limited competition, because the lobbyists write the laws, because we run to Govt with health care and they are not doctors so the lobbyists write the rules.

    Just look at laser eye surgery. It is not covered by insurance so it is at the mercy of the free market. While health care costs rise, the price of this proceedure keeps dropping and the quality improves.

    Free markets work for health care. Compition works. Dr paul knows this, and he knows the health care industry better than any other candidate. He also knows the economy, monetary policy, and free markets better than any other candidate.
    When Obamacare is repealed, Dr Paul is the best person to fix health care. He is the best person for the job of President.

    September 14, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  25. Brian

    How's it working out for us now Paul? We already have the most free market based health care system in the industrialized world, AND ITS NOT WORKING. Every other civilized country in the world has a government run health care system and you couldn't convince them to trade places with us for all the money in the world. Our system is controlled and manipulated by our insurance industry, collusion is rampant, and Ron Paul wants to go furthur down this road

    September 14, 2011 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18