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. Roger

    Mr. Paul's answer was evasive and dishonest at best. But his real answer is easy to infer since he's a Libertarian. And simply put it's – no money no health care.

    September 14, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. Terry

    Jeff, you after the insurance money or your inheritance?
    Sarah Palin decried the "Death Panels" called for on ObamaCare, but no one seems to want to rile the insurance companies by pointing out each has its own death panel, and has used it to exclude people from care, all in the name of profit. This question seems to underscore that unspoken truth....

    September 14, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. rosanne

    As an RN who works in emergency care, i can tell you no one is turned away , insurance or not, That is part of the problem, yes some peoploe are truly ill and some bilk the system. they do not even make an effort to go to public free clinics. i had a guy tell me he is on disabiltiy and plays video games all day be cause he hears voices that tell him to quit his job. We cat scan the same alcoholics head every time he falls down. do you know what that costs.
    i could write a book on the waste in the system,. some elderly folks want to die, and we do every test in the book for fear of lawsuits. That is why healthcare costs so much

    September 14, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Qi

    GOD has a grand plan. Some people are just meant to live in poverty. So sad, too bad...

    September 14, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Jeremiah

    Dr. W:
    Ron Paul was and is against the war in Iraq, Ron Paul was/ ans is against the bailouts, so sleazy lenders would of had to deal with the financial consequences. And furthermore, Ron Paul is against the regulatory government (such as the FDA) that are bought off by lobbyists from Big Pharma and the like. Ron Paul is not a standard Republican and his 20+ congressional resume confirms this.

    September 14, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. USS Constitution

    The American people are being duped.

    In a free market, it would be impossible for the costs of healthcare to get this high. It's just simple economics that states that if your service/product is overpriced and out of the reach of citizens – then that company/provider will go bankrupt.

    The only way it is possible for the healthcare industry to have costs that go beyond what the people can afford is by government programs that overpay them for the services, or let them capitalize on the bureaucracy in the details.

    Take a pill company. If they put the pills on the free market without government interference,then they have to make the price affordable. And if a company doesn't, they will lose out to the company that does.

    Yet, with government intervention, pill plans and so forth, it allows them to receive even more money for their products and the prices as a result go beyond what people can pay for them on their own.

    So as a result, more and more people need the plans and programs, all the while the healthcare companies get rich on taxpayer money. And yet the problem never actually fixes or gets better, because the solution for the problems are the problem.

    So rather than asking if people should have healthcare things, ask why people can't afford it to begin with.

    September 14, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. george

    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. Did you even watch the video?

    September 14, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. vet in texas

    If we should have listened to Ron Paul 30 years ago, then we definitely should have listened to Jimmy Carter 30 years ago (google great malaise speech), like both of them, they told us about ourselves, and of course we can't listen to that, just look at these tickers, one group says something, the other group yells "I told you so", then that group defends the person and comes up with all kinds of explanations, and excuses, then repeat it over and over again.

    The only people capable of turning this around currently running is Paul and Huntsman, Limbaugh, Levine, etc. have already talked their listeners out of following Paul, and Huntsman believes in science so both won't make it. All we have left are a bunch of proven frauds who are bashing themselves to get the "I'm the purest" award, when there past transgressions should exclude them automatically! But hey, if they made a mistake and can be forgiven.........then why can't Obama?

    You've already forgiven W for wars and "record breaking spending", and expanding government (he kept us safe ((hilarious)), you've already forgave Reagan for amnesty and raising taxes and expanding government, you've already forgiven HW for raising taxes, yet Barry is the evil one who wants to fundementally change the country........What do you think Romney will do? he's already mandated, he's a cultish religion.......you should be meeting up in the AZ desert with signs. Perry, can't budget and mandated, and Bachmann takes government handouts which should make her a liberal based on that old perception..........with conservatives running with these records, who needs liberals? They are all frauds......proven through and through.

    September 14, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. a health economist

    If we had a truly "free" health care system there would be no licensing for physicians or other care givers. But don't worry, the free market will weed out the bad doctors but only after people have died from poor care.

    There would be no restrictions to class sizes for medical schools, thus pushing down the cost of tuition. This will provide an ample supply of doctors to choose from once the unlicensed doctors bring down our already low health care quality.

    Insurers would be able to insure or not insure anybody they want. Not much of a change their.

    Individuals would have the right to withhold information about their preexisting conditions. Thus increasing the administrative costs of trying to determine who are the expensive people. These costs get passed on as higher premiums.

    Oh, and "maximum medical care and the maximum prosperity for everybody". Get ready to pay the maximum price for that. If you have the money to pay for everything under the sun, fine. But if you have insurance your costs are covered from a common pool. If everyone keeps getting more care the costs go up. Which means higher premiums. Gee, kind of sounds like where we are right now doesn't it?

    The health industry arguably has the greatest number of market failures compared to all other industries. This means the "free market" fails to produce an efficient outcome. If you don't trust government regulations. Fine. But why would you put more trust into a physician that gets paid more money for doing more work? Why put more trust into an insurer that loses money when you need care?

    September 14, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Susan

    Can't he just answer the freakin' question? Yes or No, Ron?

    September 14, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    I have some respect for Ron Paul. He wasn't trying to pander to the Tea Party crowd–someone may have cheered his health care remark, but many more booed his views on our foreign policy. He's had his views for decades and is not trying to jump on anyone's bandwagon (He's kind of like the Ralph Nader of the right–both men are true to their ideals and for that reason inspire young people). But I would like to know the details of how the free market would make health care cheaper. I'm suspicious because it's already a big private profit sector, but gets more expensive every single year.

    September 14, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Donald Ivory

    "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," nut job.

    September 14, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. Jack Cardwell

    Paul also in this interview stated an answer for the kid who wanted to know how much of his earned dollar should he keep, Paul said 100%. Well there goes everything, no military, no roads, no nothing. Create a total farming country and eceryone for themselves. Pre-1700's lifestyle.Also if you truely need help please go ask your church, neigbors, and relatives. They may help you dig your grave. I would be ashamed to say I was this stupid and be a doctor.

    September 14, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. whoa!

    What a wonderfully revealing moment that speaks the real truth about the TeaParty: Sociopathic Fascists!

    September 14, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. dirtystone

    Ron Paul: End FEMA, let people die if they don't have health care, let Iran get nukes because "they deserve them too".....absolute nutjob.

    September 14, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. Marc

    Dr. W. You are a complete fool. What Did Paul have to dowith Madoff? He opposed the wars when key democrats supported. Your entire post is pretty much nonsense and youy haven't the first clue about the changes Dr. Paul would propose. You are under the false perception that he is simila to the bushies.

    September 14, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. tim

    He is the smartest guy on the stage and in the room and it is shame that very few are listening to what he is saying.

    September 14, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. RandyMarshCT

    Ron Paul won't get the nomination because he a an intelligent and compassionate man that wants the best for all americans. Unfortunately, big business decides who will be president... and the Bilderburg group has chosen either Perry or Obama. Don't believe me? Look it up.

    September 14, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Terry

    And also, let's face it folks. The reason we have the most expensive health care in the world while at the same time having a quality ranking somewhere in the 40s is because in this country, health care is a ravenous 3-headed monster with an insatiable apetite for cash. Between employers, employees and indivuiduals we have fed this monster, which consists of medical (Drs and hospitals), pharma and insurance. We throw money into that pit, and they take what they want. Want more? Easy, change the rules and raise premiums. But make no mistake. It isn't about medical care, compassion or anything else-it's about profit. As a former doctor, Ron Paul knows this.

    September 14, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. M.A.

    The issue with forcing compliance whereupon there ignorantly is no desire to comply with it in the first place is that it doesn't work. It's sort of like mandating that a spouse love the other. Either the do so freely or they don't. It can't be forced. There's a real need to recognize how the way we live affects others and then how that comes full circle right back to us. So we don't care for one another or value medical coverage and then the government is going to enforce it's delivery by individuals interested in their own welfare disregarding the needs of the whole?

    There are people who respect others and their values include the welfare of all people. If they can do it, others can to. Forget about politics doing the solving. Government and politicians can't solve what we're confronted with.

    Only love can. But you see, to appease one group we have to tear apart another and if we choose neither then both parties hate us and our success is compromised. That's the way that politics has demonstrated how it does not work.

    Ron Paul is a long shot to ever become nominated because he doesn't say the right things to keep the power brokers content enough....he's a threat to the status quo but then again, the status quo is threatening to itself so what needs to happen will anyway!

    September 14, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Rhonda

    Ron Paul is right, the reason why we have charities and churches (that are tax exempt) is to fill any voids in the network. Government is not suppose to care for everyone from cradle to grave. People make choices and should have to live with the consequences.

    September 14, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. JonDie

    The media constantly repeated the Republicans' false claims about Democratic "death panels"... and the Republican Party thanks the media because the Republican Party IS America's "death panel."

    September 14, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. rosanne

    And while I am venting I must say it is very frustrating when people come to ER with high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, holding a coke and fries, complaing they don't feel well., and that they need oxycontin to feel better. They want us to wave some sort of magic wand and make them all better, If we don't they threaten to sue. The people in this country need to make an effort to take care of there health, we are becoming a society of fat people and other countries are probably laughing at us. Maybe the government should give everyone a bicycle. And all those on disabilty should work for their check. Teach them to sew clothes for our country, I can find a T- shirt made in America!!

    September 14, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. Flaggy

    Dr. Paul isn't saying to let them die; he's saying the federal govt is the worst of all possible healthcare providers and I agree.
    The federal govt. is a blunt object to be used in the rarest of cases to solve blunt problems. Health care is a deeply personal decision. Companies get tax breaks for providing health insurance -> insured don't see actual costs _> Dr.s/hospitals are inefficient -> high costs. Remove the tax break and let the free market drive health costs down.

    September 14, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. Patriot - but not Blind

    Tea party has been hijacked by extremists. Ron Paul was the originator of this movement, but has been side-tracked. Ron's logic is simple. Save $2-trillion from wars that only create more pain and more enemies. Use that money, and plug the loopholes created by Federal Reserve which is run by Wall Street. Once we have sound money and strong economy, things will automatically fall into place, and healthcare cost,once free from clutches of corporations will tbe way lower and take care of itself. Dont misuse social security fund and it will pay for itself. Make it optional for those who dont like it.

    Ron is the most logical person with clear vision. I was a democrat voter, but will vote for Ron if he gets the nomination.

    September 14, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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