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. dutspup

    In this day in age I think health care is a right. We have the ability to cure and repair and it is relatively cheap but the system and the hosp and doctors are greedy with god complex. With that said, if Im on my death bed and refused care and left to die, you are coming with me.

    September 14, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Luke Brown

    It was not just one person who shouted his approval of letting the hypothetical uninsured man die. There were several shouts, and even more applause.

    What I don't get is that these are the same people who say they are for a right-to-life, and that all human life is sacred. These are the same folks who said that Terry Schivo's husband was a monster for allowing her to die. These are the same people who insist that the United States is a Christian Nation, but clearly reject every command of Jesus to love their fellow man.

    Thank you, Congressman Paul, for reminding America exactly what kind of people actually comprise the Tea Party.

    My question to you and the other candidates on the stage is this: Is getting elected so important to you that you are willing to abandon personal decency and grovel for the votes of these kinds of people?

    September 14, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. MT

    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."

    If you actually listened to the debate, Paul answered, "No". It's not difficult to hear. Of course, I've already seen many in the press attributing that despicable audience to Paul, which is absurd. So we can stop with the "Ron Paul would let 'em die" snide remarks.

    September 14, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. GI Joe


    If you don't buy health-care or if your health-care coverage is lacking, then you will not receive any care whatsoever if you land in the emergency room of a hospital – heck, no ambulance will come check on you either. If your injuries are life threatening, tough luck ... you will be left to die out on the streets.

    So folks, you better buy health-care or else!

    September 14, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
    Gosh – then they must be waiting to get back in control before they mandate affordable health-insurance for everyone (LOL).

    September 14, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. I tea-bag/teabaggers

    Wow, tea baggers have got to be old nazi ghosts from the past or something. No abortions for anyone! Right to Life! So what, after you reach a certain age your off their f-ing love list?! You either love all life no matter the age/race/sex or you shut the f up! What has this country come to that these kind of people have any say in anything? Oh sorry sir, but since you don't have insurance your life means nothing to us. I'm sure Jesus would be just fine with that right tea nazis?

    September 14, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. Jason

    I want to make it VERY clear to these so called tea-partyers, THERE IS NO TEA PARTY it was A PART of Ron Paul's 2008 Campaign. HE IS THE TEA PARTY, and all of these NEOCONS including Bachmann,Perry,Romney are all fake as a 3-dollar bill.

    The real tea party has been hijacked and drug into the mud by these NEOCONS, remember Rand Paul's campaign? They said he kidnapped women, wasn't a real doctor and worshiped a aqua Buddha.. they even faked tea-partiers during one of his rallies and has them shout racist slogans. Thats the filth we're dealing with, and I cant stand it anymore watching people get mesmerized and lied to and led into the fire pit.

    Ron Paul was given 2 questions for the last 2 debates, how can people not understand who the corporate media is pushing for as candidates here... These fake NEOCONS are now talking about the FED, they copy Ron Paul. Speaking of the FED W.T.F. is up with Blitzer NOT ASKING RON PAUL about the fed in the last debate BUT asking every other candidate.

    September 14, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Scott O

    Paul is absolutely right when he says ...

    "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."

    September 14, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. kyle

    Ron Paul did answer the question. Essentially he said that society will have safety nets that are not government run, for example the Church or your family. This is and can be a reality, especially if the Religious (right and left) took their own religion seriously.

    September 14, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Bing

    The first word out of Ron's mouth to the question "should he be left to die" was "No." Ron was asked the question, not some idiot in the audience. Again, Ron said "No."

    That said, the government isn't the only solution for people who make mistakes. (And remember, the question was about someone who COULD get insurance, but chose not to.) Ron explained that, and as the only Medical Doctor on stage, I think he knows what he's talking about moreso than any of us airchair critics writing (or reading) CNN articles.

    Ron Paul has my vote in 2012.

    September 14, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. BestGran3

    It sounded to me like the Tea Party folks believe the uninsured should not receive medical care...and they were against death panels. I'm not opposed to letting the terminally ill die and avoid the thousands of dollars trying to live for another day, but I'm pretty sure their family members will feel differently. Have you seen the movie, "Repo Men"?

    September 14, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. michaelj007

    In every GOP debate, even back in 2008, the hosts always lob the party's darlings (in this case Romney) softball questions. Meanwhile, they constantly push Ron Paul into a corner with Yes or No GOTCHA type questions to make him look as bad as possible. The latest attack by Wolf is just another example. How the heck does disagreeing with the Federal Healthcare Mandate equate to letting people die??? How the heck does a host get away with this? Insurance or Death?!?! completely absurd!

    September 14, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. JiminNM

    A "taker and user" cried out Yeah! We are responsible for ourselves and our family, and no one else is responsible for us. You don't steal from others to have a better life, you earn a better life and through your compassion for others you receive compassion in return.

    September 14, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Bilbo

    Maybe people forget a few basic facts. Hospitals are a business. Doctors practice a profession. Healthcare is not FREE. To knock the drug companies because the get profits is foolish. How do they do research? How do they pay for more employees and lab equipment. How do they further the education of their professionals? You must literally believe that money grows on something to think people should do things for you for free and that includes healthcare and food. That's life...that's the world you live in. There are no free lunches.

    September 14, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. randumbguy

    Here's a health care plan with plenty to tick lots of people off! 1) Three times in your life you are given the option to buy into a federally orchestrated insurance pool (say ages 21, 35, and 49). If you buy into it, you are covered and all members in the pool have an annual vote in selecting coverage levels and the premiums that come with them. Probably significant bonuses for risk-avoiding lifestyle choices. (This plan works just fine w/o federal orchestration if you allow a gigantic zero-profit health care entity to be created.) 2) If you elect not to buy into the coverage you are on your own; you may buy insurance or not buy insurance; doctors may turn your down as a patient as they see fit; ER may turn you away if you don't have insurance or proof of means to pay for services. 3) Bankruptcy does not cancel debts accumulated due to medical conditions. For all the free market die hard individualist Ayn Rand worshippers your can go it alone and let the market "work for you". For those who don't trust the unfettered market not to run over the individual, there's a more conservative option of pooling your risk in a large plan.

    September 14, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. wormstooth

    I've never voted republican in a national election, but as I get older, I'm more willing to listen. So far, the only republican in this race worth listening to is Ron Paul.

    September 14, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Mary

    The best response to the stupidity of the Tea Party, of the insane followers of Ayn Rand of the 1950's and her followers who wish to take us back to that era is for all sane people to vote Democrat for 2012 for congress and the white house. RudyNYC was correct in his response that Ron Paul as a doctor had only one response and that was No because of his oath! Wake up people! I grew up in the 50's – they SUCKED – so thank you very much but i want to move forward and to those Congressional Republicans including Corporate America that stands firm with them who all pledged when Obama won the election, they would be do everything to ruin his presidency so he would serrve one term, they are succeeding. I blame Obama on one thing – that he tried to reason with them and give them an olvie branch. I would have told them to all go to the devil.

    September 14, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Marc in Florida

    As a physcian, Paul knows well the problems of limited care for the uninsured. This is a national disgrace. For 60 years people like Paul have supported private insurers at the cost of countless lives and disability. I am a physician and I have advocated for a National Health plan my entire career. Nothing else will work. Medicare for all is a good option. People like Paul hawk charitable care – it doesn't work and rarely provides the followup and options needed. He knows it. We are becoming a poor and unheatlthy country because of poeple like Paul.

    September 14, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    The media has taken that out of context.........and they know they are.......but they want to take the position that the Dems are better than the GOP, which is of course, just media manipulation of the truth. The media are mostly Dem leaning, and some are grossly Dem leaning.

    Guess the media are all for a welfare state, also.

    September 14, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Chris

    Ron Paul did say "No." It was the crowd saying "yeah!"

    I implore everyone thinking of another candidate to answer this: WHY vote for another typical Politician? OUr country is going to hell, and you are going to simply elect another one of the exact problem causing our issues? Ron Paul is the only honest candidate who can change our country. His ideas aren't new, they are just so old they have been forgotten.

    I implore you, listen to Ron Paul. He makes so much more sense than many realize.

    September 14, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Double Dribble

    I think we should let anybody die who wants to, let anybody turn down Social Security if they want to, let anybody turn down work if they wants to, let anybody starve if they want to, let anybody try not go to war if they want to.

    But, you can't have an abortion, you can't have sex, you can't not believe in God, you can't be non-Christian, you can't be gay/black/hispanic/chinese/japenese/.. (ie: non-white), can't be union, can't vote, can't complain

    Problem solved, Go Republican~

    September 14, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Joe

    Ron Paul once told a college age student at a town hall that instead of Goverment backed student loans which Paul was againest, you could work a summer job (like he did when he went to school) to pay for your tuition. Unless the student is slinging rock, you will not be able to earn enough money to pay for tuition even if you can find a job. That is his mindset that I feel is stuck back in the 50s... Wake up Ron, we are back to the future NOW

    September 14, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Astounded

    Never understand why people think that everyone else should take care of them.....its about being responsible for oneself, plain and simple.

    September 14, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. Davis

    Dr. W – let's not forget the sleazy people that lied on their loans to get a home/mortgage they could never pay. There is blame to go around for all sides. As for medical care, there is already a quasi-goverment system in place when you consider how much medicare/medicaid makes up healthcare spending. As such, you left our Big Government in your rant.

    September 14, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. Sandy

    Makes no sense for Republicans are against the mandate. They are all for personal responsibility. The only reason they are not for it is because Obama is for it. They were ok with it before Obama proposed it. HYPOCRITES!

    September 14, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. the camster

    @as gm goes – does your dictionary have the word irony in it? Or does 'despicalble leftwing' not count as name calling in your book?

    Too funny.

    September 14, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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