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. Dr. Ruth

    Ultraright tea party = nazi party.

    September 14, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. DG KCMO

    This was a poor liberally biased question. These people don’t die now nor will they die in the future. The question is who should pay for their care. What ever happened to personal responsibility? If you make the decision not to get health insurance, then you should expect to be billed for your care. If you are unable to pay for a service provided to you, then you should do what you can or file for bankruptcy. Collections for these people happen every day in churches and places of business. Why should I as a tax payer be forced to pay for someone else’s poor decisions? I work for my money and make my own decisions. So should everyone else.

    September 14, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Snurfles

    Ron Paul's answer was very disappointing but the response from the audience was bone chilling. If those people are so "pro-life", how could they possibly applaud the thought of an innocent man's death? The only "lives" they care about are embryos. Once they're out of the womb, God help them. I was almost considering voting for Ron Paul but not anymore. He should have said something when that audience member yelled out to let the patient die but he didn't. Some doctor he is.

    September 14, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. karen

    Ron Paul didn't answer that question with a resounding "yes" – that was some hate mongering tea party member. Ron has some strange ideas but he is someone who actually tells the truth about what he believes, unlike that liar Rick Perry and that hypocrit Michelle Bachman, who has never held a job that wasn't funded by the government.

    September 14, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. Rachele Plowman

    I agree the government should not take care of people. If medical expenses were lower then people wouldn't expect the government to take care of them. I find it rediculous that it costs more than 20,000 to have a child born in the us when Canada charges less then 10,000.

    September 14, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Rosslaw

    By any metric the United States consistently ranks in the range of 35th or worse in the delivery of health care. A good example of the market unleashed in health care was the KBR managed, rat and cockroach infested Walter Reed Hospital amputee ward where economics took precedence over the treatment of horribly wounded American troops. 300 health care workers were reduced to 50 in the name of cost cutting. The bankruptcies Paul refers to are dominated in terms of individual bankruptcies with overwhelming medical costs, even though 70% of health care related bankrupts had at least some health insurance. Over 30 years in government have just left Paul hopelessly confused as to whom he's working for.

    September 14, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Bowser

    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 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. Dr. Ruth

    The nazi party policy was to exterminate not only jews but people with disabilities, people with deformities, and anybody that was not perfect in their eyes, the tea party is no different, if you have no money you have no right to healthcare, medicines, and this includes everybody especialy children. if Woulf would of ask what about children of poor people the answer woulf been the same.

    September 14, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney baldwin ventura sheehan

    do ask President Obama why single-payer was never allowed to be 'on the table'

    September 14, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Truth Squad

    Frist of all, it's hilarious how Left-wingers continually deride right-wingers for their stance on faith and how many on the right feel they are more in touch with their faith and are more committed Christians than those on the left.
    They then turn around and on an almost hourly basis, with news stories as their church and gospel, they post about how much more compassionate, caring and loving then their right-wing counterparts.

    The difference between left and right is a left-winger thinks he/she is more caring and compassionate based on how much taxes someone richer than them give, and how much they think the government is doing for people.
    A right-winger thinks they are caring, compassionate and loving based on what they do in their private lives and feels the governments job is to protect and get out of the way.

    September 14, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Gary Curtis

    If our medical system were to follow Ron Paul's thinking on how to improve, every hospital in the country will have to hire a staff person whose function it will be to contact churches and the like in the community, to request contributions to pay for patient care like the one in Wolf Blitzer's scenerio. The astounding thing to me in listening to this, was not his reponse but the audiences response, they applauded!

    September 14, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Jeff wrote:
    I finally convinced my parents to vote for Ron Paul!
    -------------
    Rep. Paul believes that bigotry and racism is an exercise of your freedom of speech. Rep. Paul believes in a lot things that sound reasonable, but even more that are rather disturbing and un-American.

    September 14, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Thomas, Baton Rouge, LA

    Just hand them over to Rick Perry. He likes to kill them.

    September 14, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Unlike the Dems, and even a lot of Republicans, Ron Paul is a realist. He knows you can't get something for nothing, not even critically urgent medical care. It takes resources to provide that care, resources that don't just magically come into existence just because someone needs them.

    Multiply the average cost of providing someone with medical services by the number of people in the country and that's the total cost to the country. Governments create no wealth. All they can do is, to a limited extent, move wealth around and so government cannot undertake to pay for all that medical care without taking money to pay those costs away from those who do produce wealth, people. So, on average, people are right back where they started from, paying the costs of their own medical care either directly to the providers of that care or indirectly through government via taxes.

    All that might be okay if it cost nothing to pass money through government first on its way to actually paying the
    providers of medical services. But that's not how it works. It costs enormous amounts of additional money just to pay the government to be a go-between.

    Further, since some people don't pay enough in taxes to cover the costs oftheir own medical needs, those costs get passed on to other people in the form of even greater taxes. How is it even remotely fair to charge person A twice as much for medical services because person B paid nothing?

    Government-run medical services are grossly inefficient and grotesquely unfair. That's why they shouldn't exist.

    September 14, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. Truth Squad

    People are complete idiots.

    I am not going to vote for Ron Paul, but he said "No" clearly when Blitzer asked the question again and said he treated everyone who came into his hospital.

    And I believe there were hundreds, if not a thousand, people in the audience ONE Person yelled yes.

    What we need to do, if this is the standard, is go to EVERY Democrat event and find the ONE or TWO people in the crowd that are totally out of their minds and have endless stories and debates about how they represent ALL Democrats.

    You people are nuts, you want to judge Republicans by one standard and then when it turns around you won't judge your own by the same standard.

    September 14, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. Liz the First

    Can anything better illustrate the mentality of the teabaggers? do we really want to practice social darwinism in this country where it's survival of the fittest and anyone not able to take care of themselves is just left to die????? is this the American Dream??? anyone who votes for any of these right-wing monsters should have his head examined!

    September 14, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Byrd

    This will actually save us a lot of money and grief. All paramedics need do now is ask if the victim is a republican and if so, they can just leave them lying on the ground to fend for themselves. If these Tea Partiers need to get to the hospital, tell them to take a cab or crawl.

    September 14, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Matt

    The issue Paul faces in these debates is trying to get across that if we had a free market in healthcare we would not need insurance for every single thing. Costs are going out of control mostly because insurance picks up the tab for everything.

    If you don't agree just answer this: Last time you went to the doctor for anything did you ask how much it would cost for them to treat you? If you had insurance you did not care because all you needed to cover was the deductable.

    September 14, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Jake1969

    Talk about side-stepping an issue. This was a simple and straightforward question, not a discussion over free market vs. government. Before medicare, even scores more died because of no access to insurance. That's why it was created. Even after medicare, scores remained uninsured. So, it's a very basic question - "if someone doesn't have insurance, do you leave them to die?" Watch out for karma and justice those of you who so proudly answer "yes" to that question...just despicable. The person yelling "yes" better not try to claim they are a Christian...because if you know anything about the Bible and scripture, it's crystal clear how Jesus would answer that question.

    September 14, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. indie voter

    These people cannot call themselves Christians! I wonder if they felt the same way if it was a loved one who was uninsured.

    September 14, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. drew

    you know, I would love nothing more to have Ron Paul as our Pres in 2012. But the sad fact is this; non of the Republicans want that much power taken away from the government, and we all know that money is what wins elections. We also know that that money is already going to one of the media proclaimed presidential winners in Perry and Romney. The other realization I have come to is that in order to get obama out of the White House means voting for one of the aforementioned. The more I hear Perry speak, the more I realize he's a fucking moron. So I guess I'm left to vote for the lesser of two evils.

    September 14, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. James

    Well, Rep. Paul can count on my vote. It speaks wonders to me that there's actually a politician out there who understands that true compassions comes from strengthening core values, which leads to prosperity and a lifting of all.

    Creating one program after another to target the needs of specific groups does nothing but divide and weaken. Eventually you run out of human and monetary capital as you attempt to follow too many rabbits all at once and end up deeper and deeper into their warren.

    Ron Paul's comments illustrate that he understands my perspective, so he gets my vote!

    September 14, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. No Amnesty for Teabaggers - Impeach Republicans

    What has America become. Ron took the Hippocratic Oath, and now he is just a hypocrite.

    September 14, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. cjn

    Dear Rudy from NYC. Maybe before you come to teh cnn page to troll your Republicrat, statist fascism, you should try WATCHING the debate.

    it was an easy yes or no question? well guess what buddy, Ron answered NO! to that question. lol you are a troll go read a book or educate yourself in any manner you see fit.

    September 14, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. Amy

    To Rudy NYC... Dr. Paul did say no. You need to watch that part of the debate again. Someone IN THE AUDIENCE said yes, not Dr. Paul.

    September 14, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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