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. Jeff Spangler

    Further evidence that this tired old Texan Teabagger is a fringe element embraced only by people lacking basic compassion and common sense. Please make him go away by booing and hissing!

    September 14, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. CosmicC

    The free market is not some naturally occuring economic environment. It's a man-made institution. Faith in the free market, is just that; faith – the belief in something without proof.
    We, as a society, must decide who we want to be, a third world country with nothing for the vast majority except for for institutionalized poverty, or a civilized society where provide education and healthcare as basic human needs and care for our less fortunate members.
    Oh, and drop the constitutionality nonsense. If you read it, you'll find that Ron Paul apparently hasn't.

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

    I LOVE that teapartier quote: "Keep your government hands off my medicare"

    September 14, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Voice of Reason

    The irony in his statement, "it doesnt come from bakruptcies that we have now" is that the guy in the hypothitical would have only ONE choice to pay off his medical bills. The cost of health care over a six-month period would far exceed most people's wealth by far. Any normal American would be ... bankrupted!

    Here's the problem in a nutshell: We HAVE to give care to people. If someone shows up in the ER and they are bleeding to death – we treat them first, and ask about insurance after. When the Tea Party has their way – then the doctors and hospitals will have the right to say,'No. We wont treat you because you havent earned it.'. And simply let them die. Every time you hear one of these people parrroting the talking point of how, 'it's about taking responsibility' – that's code for – If you cant pay, you dont get treatment.

    September 14, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. BillE

    Great tell-all moment when somebody in audience shouted "Yeah!" This is the tea party in a nut shell. These wack jobs are not only crazy, they're dangerous!

    September 14, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. rdarkchild

    Ron Paul will never be Preident deal with it.

    September 14, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. Scooter

    Every day health care is rationed, not just in the US by insurance companies but also by Medicare, Medicaid, the Canadian single payer system, the British health service, and every other government that provides health care.

    It is not realistic to think that every health care service and product anyone might need can ever be provided, even rich people can't get all the health care they want.

    As I understand the question it is what should we do with a dying man who has no insurance, no family, no friends, no community, no church, no employees, no employer, and nobody with any reason to pay his medical bills?

    That's a long list to work through before you get to the last final two options. Let the medial professionals do what they can to let him pass on in comfort and write off the cost, or take money with a threat of violence and imprisonment from other people and spend their money on this guy they don't know.

    It would be great if everyone could get everything they want for free, but the government can't give something away it hasn't taken by force from someone else.

    Everybody dies someday and that is sad, not a reason to holler "yeah", and not a reason to take money from people who have their own loved ones to care for and their own bills to pay.

    September 14, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. Brad

    His notion that the freer the market the better the health care shows a complete misunderstanding of how free markets work. The free market in health care results in people being denied coverage for life becasue they have suffered from a pre-existing condition. Tell that to the 17-year old who has leukemia that she will never be able to purchase health care for the rest of her life once she is kicked off the parents policy at age 21. Yeah Ron that's a much better system. Compassion my behind.

    September 14, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Robert

    For all of the life saving you think you do (liberals who want socialized medicine), Ron Paul is correct here. How many people would be alive, including American soldiers, if they weren't over in the Middle East stirring up trouble. (Fact: more have died now under Obama than under Bush.) Wake up, folks.

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

    The question was; what do you do about someone who chose NOT to have health coverage. Of course you have to take care of those who cannot, but if someone turns down the offer..... Well how much free overtime do YOU want to put in to pay for his care, and others like him?

    September 14, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Jerry

    Let common sense prevail!!! Go Ron Paul!!!

    and BTW he would NEVER let ANYONE die he's a REAL DOCTOR!

    September 14, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Tea Party Member

    You hear us say it all the time – "Our country was founded on Christain values"
    So as a Christian, Conservative, Tea Party member, I say...let them die.
    Isn't that what Jesus would do?

    Go Tea Party!

    September 14, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Remember, folks, it was the Republicans who came up with the concept of "Death Panels", too. Funny how they came up with that concept when it never came up in the legislation or in discussions with Democrats.

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

    Take the question one step farther....Say a father decides not to buy medical insurance and his child becomes ill, only to discover the child has cancer. Under the republican freedom of choice plan, does the child get treatment and who pays for it?

    September 14, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. DA

    I tell you that is the Teabangers for you!! I will bet you anything the person that yell'd it out probably, needs every bit of the Healthcare policies that are in the Bill!! I mean when will the media sit down and just ask these folks who are in the tea party exactly, where they fit in America in regards to their income. I mean if you let them(teabanger) tell it they are all pretty rich to me, and don't need healthcare, have a job, and pretty much pay taxes like rich folks. LOL

    September 14, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. mike

    What I would like to see is Ron Paul or any other of like mind be seriously injured in the desert with no transportation and no one around who could care less about them or their health. They got there it's their problem, let em die. It would be at that time they might understand ( only might) how people who can't get or afford health insurance feel.

    He is a dangerous man with a lack of any traits of human compassion or empathy for others. Being a political leader and lacking those qualities puts all of us in great harm and he should be made irrelevant and recognized as an individual who can neither be trusted in any capacity nor considered a representative of American and Christian values at any level.

    September 14, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. DL

    The question was crap to begin with....saying if someone willingly and knowingly cancelled healthcare then got sick, and if the government should help him, is like asking if the government should prevent a man from walking off a cliff. To say the government should be the babysitters of everyone is why we're losing in education and most other things to the rest of the world. We need to stand up and take responsibility for once.

    September 14, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. skarphace

    If you go to Paul's website and read his position on health care, you get a bullet list of his views on the issue. Included are the following two points:

    * Guarantee that what is taken from taxpayers to pay for Medicare and Medicaid is not raided for other purposes.

    * Make all Americans eligible for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and remove government-imposed barriers to obtaining HSAs.

    In other words, either the government provides for your care, via Medicare or Medicaid, or you are responsible for your own care, either through insurance or an HSA (or both).

    I would hope that those who are not on Medicaid or Medicare but have not provided for themselves are not turned away from hospitals when they need treatment, but other than that I support his positions on the issue.

    Regardless, his is the most concrete plan I have heard, outside of ObamaCare, which I think needs to be revised.

    September 14, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. bile

    Rudy NYC, did you even watch the debate? "No" is exactly what Paul said when asked.

    September 14, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Ben

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

    September 14, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. Narmuriel

    "As GM goes, so goes the country...Unions/Democrats killed GM, now they are killing the country"

    Right....sure they did, and the Angelic Republicans didnt do a thing.

    When are people going to understand that BOTH parties are destroying the country? It has no bearing on the responsibility whether you are Republican/Democrat or Liberal/Conservative. The partisanship and lack of cooperation has brought us to where we are.

    September 14, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. Alina77

    And it wasn't even an American enemy who yelled "Yea!", it was your fallow American that wrapped in American flag, crying about 9/11 victims and goes to the church to pray (lats hope especially after yelling Yea!)

    We are witnessing attacks on common sense and on simple minded Americans that believe "that that's how it suppose to be">

    September 14, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. rufus

    When you watch these "debates" keep in mind that the media are presenting us what they want us to see. Wolf is a "gotcha" journalist like Katie Couric and others. Nevertheless, Ron Paul answered the question quite well considering it couldn't possibly be answered fully in less than 5 minutes. People, think for yourselves. Don't let Wolf Blitzer influence your thinking.

    September 14, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. JeffinReno

    listen if you were to let insurance companies compete across state lines then pricing would be dramatically reduced. Healthcare and health insurance are one of the few services that we don't "shop" for, heck the cost of your last doctors visit is unknown until you get the bill. If healthcare was truely capitalism it would be MUCH cheaper than it is. The industry needs competition and Obama's law took any chance of that away and if anything added demand expotentally more that increased supply which will only drive prices higher.

    Thowing BS emotional stories at this problem only muddies the water. Its not about having health insurance or even money the heiress to a pharmacuetical company died of treated diabetes.

    September 14, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. Jack

    Ron Paul answered 'No'... did you even watch the debate?

    September 14, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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