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. Bob

    @ Mike from MN – you have zero clue. How many people have you seen dying in the street? Your lack of knowledge is embarrassing.

    September 14, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. Emerson

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

    What killed GM was poor management in not builidng reliable, fuel efficient cars and corporate greed by instituting planned obsolescense. There was plenty of money to spread around so the UAW happily went along for the ride, but take a look at what the GM execs pulled out to see who killed the golden goose.

    September 14, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Susan in Arkansas

    Dr. Paul's response should have been very easy...remember the Hippocratic Oath he took in medical school? With respect to his having better knowledge of government's role in health care than any of his other fellow candidates because he is a medical doctor, just how many Medicare patients do you think an OB/GYN doc sees???? Perhaps a few Medicaid patients, but in his case, I bet not very many, especially if his practice wasn't associated with a university medical school.

    September 14, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Jeetu

    The free market system does not work to provide social services which are needed for a civilized society. Take the example of Postal Service. No private service, like UPS or Fed-Ex, are willimng to serve areas where they cannot make profits. Therefore, it US Postal Service operates like these private services, many people in the rural areas will be left without any postal services and for many of those folks, that means all the difference in the world. And, in providing those social services to the rural areas, postal service incurs additional costs which cannot be recovered from other services because of competition.

    The same is true of health service providers and the insurance companies. Because of their profit motive, they select only those customers who can pay and from whom they can make profits. Hence a person who gets sick and does not have money to pay or becomes sick will be left to die unless we provide some other means to cover these. A direct way is to make sure that these folks have health insurance as that would cost the least (people do not have to go to emergency medical facilities). An indirect way is to absrob the costs and ask others to pay by higher rate of services etc. No matter what we do, it is lot different than just being compasionate. You could be quite compasionate and kill the person unless s/he is provided medical treatment which comes at a cost and the cheapest way is through medical and healthcare insurance. Therefore, even though Mr. Paul is a medical doctor, he fails to understand this his policies would leave millions to die for the lack of medical care and treatment.

    September 14, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. ericsieker

    Two or three people in the audience said "yeah." How does it follow that the entire Tea Party or Republican Party share the same sentiments? People are really reaching on this one. Those three people are obviously morons but to turn it around and try to say that their views are some how reflective of Dr. Paul's philosophy is beyond disingenuous. Dr. Paul clearly said "no" when asked the question.

    September 14, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. yesorno

    GOP and their "Scorch America Policy" let people starve and die. The new America looking like the America of Crow

    September 14, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. JimmyVegas

    Ron Paul haters feel the government should take care of their every need. Need toliet paper and don't have the money for it – the government should give it to them. Can't afford health insurance – the government should give it to them. Need a newer car and can't afford it – the government should give it to them. And you wonder why are country is broke. Quit counting on the government to take care of you. That's not their job, it's your responsibility to take care of yourself!

    September 14, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Jeetu

    Why do answers wait moderation? Is there a censor mechanism at work here? If so, please let us know the parameters.

    September 14, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Orin

    why can't reporters follow up assertions made by politicians with a demand for hard data to back up the assertion?
    Paul says the freer the system the better the health care. Well, I don't know how you measure the degree of freeness, but it is clear that national health care systems in Canada and Western Europe deliver equal or better health care; measures of public health show they are as healthy or healthier than we are, even as their per capita health care costs are generally less than 1/2 of ours.
    So Paul has some "'splainin to do" (with apologies to Rick Ricardo), but luckily for him he won't have to because reporters do a lousy job of asking the pertinent questions.
    Others claim that high taxes kill jobs and economic growth but here is the data:
    1970 -1980 top tax rates 70-77%, avg, annual GDP increase 6.7%
    1981-1992 28% vs 1.97% GDP
    1993-2000 38.6% 4.3% GDP
    2001-2009 35% and 1.69% GDP
    So how do you make the case that high marginal rates cramp the economy? Facts will trump theory every time.

    September 14, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. cf

    Sorry Ron, but there is NO defense for your position on this. Your back peddling today is a half-truth at best: You may "want the maximum medical care and the maximum prosperity for everybody" but you left out the key part of your belief: "if they can afford it."

    September 14, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. Darryl Schmitz

    The seeds of authoritarian government are sown on the winds of fear. We're seeing two prime examples of this with the economic fear-mongering that is meant to convince us to accept government directed health care and fear of terrorism that is meant to convince us to submit to groping and electronic strip searches at airports. It will not stop there.

    September 14, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Ataro

    Seriously do we want to turn America into Somalia they haven’t had a government in 20years. They have lots of freedom, no taxes, no Medicare, no free public education and lots of guns. How many tea party activists are willing to move to Somalia???? Wake up!!!! people in government are telling you that government is terrible then why aren’t they going back to the private sector? If you are a Lawyer you shouldn’t be allowed to be a politician. Period!!!!

    September 14, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Embarrassed Conservative

    I continue to be embarrassed by my party!

    September 14, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Jeff

    I consider myself a libertarian. The fact is, doctors are not going to let people die when they get rushed to the emergency room. Therefore, someone needs to step in and cover these costs. Having an individual mandate, as in Obamacare, is the most libertarian solution. The patient pays for the costs. Otherwise, you either have the government pay for it (raising taxes), or the hospitals pay for it (raising fees on patients that have appropriate healthcare).

    September 14, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. ktq1

    The one problem I had with this question, was that Bachman danced around it when the question was turned on her – going off on a rant that had nothing to do with it. Wolf let her skate. I wanted to hear her say they should die too – else risk the rath of that wonder bread audience.

    September 14, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. ALAN J

    Ron Paul is a man that is suffering from Dementia that's why he keeps running for President, because he doesn't realized he did that before and came nowhere Close to winning the nomination! @As GM goes is a psycho talker, it was a DEMOCRAT that SAVED GM, it was REPUDS who said let them go down the drain, so I can get my kickback money from the foreign automakers please!

    September 14, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Bill

    I love you guys, why don't you pay for his healthcare. If the guy doesn't have it tough crap, you die. I don't have homeowners tough crap my house doesn't get fixed. I am not responsible for you and your choices. If you chose to have a car and cell phone and all the tv channels and not health care thats your fault.

    September 14, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Me in MN

    I pity the women that had him as their OB/Gyn.

    September 14, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Make Sense Plz

    Please, Sniffit, make sense of your arguments. Forcing Americans to pay for those in need isn't altruism at all. It is impossible for altruistic acts to be forced... which is precisely why Dr. Paul pointed out that charitable hospitals and organizations (including faith based groups) never turned down anyone in need... and were better suited to helping those without care.

    Furthermore, without the Federal Goverment involved, health care costs would go down, makeing care easier to access for people without insurance. Quit trying to depict Congressman Paul as some sort of monster who will leave people out on the streets who need critical care.

    September 14, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. KEYLARGO1

    Paul's idea is you don't need health insurance the church will take care of the bill......yeah suuure!

    September 14, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Suzanne

    Rudy, he did say "no". Did you not watch the debate? Being forced to have health insurance is the reason why medical care is so expensive. It creates bigger government. It is not FREEDOM!
    And now the news comes out about Wolf Blitzer asking about his 49-year old campaign manager who died from complications of pneumonia without medical insurance. The problem is, it doesn't mean he wasn't treated!! Obviously he was (by leaving a $400,000 debt behind)...he died of complications of pneumonia. Lots of people die from pneumonia every year. Ron Paul didn't kill him.

    September 14, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Michael in Houston

    I watched the debate and heard the crowd response from the tea baggers on the hypothetical question of letting the thirty year old die since he decided not be insured. There was more then one person yelling out that we should let him die. Sorry....Ron Paul is not my type of candidate to lead America 2012 and the tea party which is nothing more then a collection of white, overweight, middle aged, and pasty faced neanderthals has NOTHING to offer this voter. Their biggest responses in these debates have been on executions and now this uninsured hypothetical. Tea Baggers have a demented and twisted vision and a weird idea of what to be enthused about.

    September 14, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. ALAN J

    @Paul your parents are going to kick your butt when they find out that man can't win dog catcher

    September 14, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Rynosaur

    This is why you have to hear a full Ron Paul speech. Because every issue affects the others. Stop war mongering around the world, now we have more money for medical care and aid. But you can't fit the whole philosophy into a 30 – 60 second response. Ultimately, I feel people who aren't responsible for themselves, should suffer the consequences. I will bail out my family and friends if they need help, but to assume I am responsible for anyone in the country, who is dumb, is the main reason our quality of medical care has subsided.

    September 14, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  25. ALAN J

    @Jeff your parents are going to kick your butt when they find out that man can't win dog catcher

    September 14, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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