Ron Paul on debate's health care moment
September 14th, 2011
12:23 PM ET
10 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. Thomas

    I cannot believe that America the Beautiful has brought this ugly Tea Party into this world. People throughout the world, and especially in USA are shocked at what is happening here. Are these so called partygoers real Americans? Is Ron Paul and Rick Perry, Michele Backmann and Mitt Romney, and all other republican pretenders to the presidency real Americans? They all must be into a state of total confusion when they say that they would let die all those of us that cannot afford health insurance, because it is the fault of the democrats if health insurance is unaffordable. They're lying through their teeth because the world knows that the big health insurance companies, the big hospitals corporations, the pharmaceutical corporations own all the republican and tea party politicians. Shame on these miserable, heartless pigs.

    September 14, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. JImbo

    Health care should be socialized. Supply and demand determine price but if you can't place a value on the life of your son or daughter who is suddenly in a coma then price is undefined. Without price capitalism breaks down. Emotions take over and any price will be paid to save a loved one. That creates price inefficiency allowing high profits to be made without regard to supply and demand or quality. Price is a fundamental requirement in capitalism so either determine what your love one is worth or socialize medicine so that price payments can be subsidized by all; not just those within United Health Care, BCBS, etc...

    September 14, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. Nothing new here

    I consider myself to be a fiscal conservative....
    But I would rather my taxes be used to care for the poor, than to be squandered by corrupt politicians for their own personal gain.
    And we should be taking care of our own citizens. Americans first, and I agree with Ron Paul when it comes to getting out of all these foreign countries/foreign wars.

    September 14, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. craig

    The problem here comes down to the specifics of the question. Had the question been "real" it would have simply said he's ill and has no insurance. Adding the idea that he made a choice lets people off the hook.

    A reality question would go like this: He's 30. He's healthy, or has been. He is unemployed, or has a job that doesn't provide insurance and makes so little that he literally can't afford to buy it himself. Do you let him die?

    Remember, most people who aren't covered don't have the luxury of making some other choice. Poverty and unemployment is like that.

    September 14, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. Rufrigginkidnme

    The person who yelled was a Democrat plant. that's number 1.

    2 – Govt has Force and coersion. that's it's only power... it can take your property, it can take your life. Why do we need this type of organization in control of all other aspects of our lives? Why can't a group of people who feel strongly about it get together as a private organization and do something about a problem through cooporation and shared purpose rather than use the fist of govt to pound everything one into doing what someone thinks is best?

    Govt. doesn't help in Medical care or anything else.. our lives are longer despite government. Get govt out of the way and let free ppl cooperate and get things done. ? how much do you give to charity if you are taxed at all levels 60% or more?

    September 14, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. WinW

    Ron Paul was basically correct. Some Tea Party people are racist and mean and whatever. So are some democrats. To simply say that therefore all Tea Party people lack compassion or are racist is a smokescreen.

    Other people make the comment that corporations are greedy so all they want to do is maximize profit. Well who doesn't? Everyone is greedy. It only matters whether or not they did it with other people in a free society with free associations or if they did it with force, coercion or by government decree. The government people are also "greedy" and so they work in ways to benefit the lobbyists, not you.

    Healthcare was better fifty years ago before the government got involved. The technology is better now, but not the way the system works. Ron Paul was one of the few people even back in 2003 that saw the bursting of the housing bubble. This guy knows what he is talking about.

    I used to be a socialist like most of the people making comments here until I read up on history and actually looked at the Data, not at the talking points.

    September 14, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  7. JukU

    Ron did say No. One or two people in the audience said yes. I really think half the people commenting here are commenting from what they want to think happened rather than what happened.

    September 14, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  8. ace

    for those hard of hearing: Ron Paul did not say churches SHOULD pay for healthcare, he said when he was practicing families, neighbors and churches DID pay for healthcare for people who couldn't afford it. He said he and his hospital NEVER refused treatment to anybody. A doctor who has any humanity or feels any responsibility to the hippocratic oath will not let you die. As far as the financial responsibility his point was we have lost our sense of community, to the modern atheistic godless American the idea of a church taking care of it's members or caring for your neighbors is appalling.

    September 14, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. steve cochran

    Rudy, I hate to pop your bubble, but doctors quit swearing the Hippocratic Oath decades ago when they became accountable to the self-propagated regulations afforded by monopoly licensure; and the EMTALA regulations ensure that hospitals don't abandon patients. Ron Paul has repeatededly stated that there's nothing unconstitutional about a national health care system, if the Congress has the will to enact it and some of the "tax" money that we waste on military adventurism to pay for it - unlike Obamacare which doesn't impose an honest tax, but instead imposes a penalty on individuals who fail to purchase a ridiculously overpriced commercial product.

    Ron Paul for President

    September 14, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  10. Larry

    people are reacting to the truth and sometimes it scares them because it shakes them to their core ...
    what Dr. Paul said was "being responsible for your self is the first step to being a useful member of society.
    If the hypothetical young man chose not to buy medical insurance and needed it then like every other product or service he didn't buy he doesn't have it. Yes, charities or other voluntary private funds can pay for his care. But to expect to be taken care by everyone else because you chose not to take care of yourself is foolhardy thinking.

    September 14, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. RL Turn

    Wow, amazing how the most compassionate and honest man in politics can be vilified and associated with an idiot yelling in the audience. Frankly for answering a question that equates to "So, when did you stop beating your wife?", I think Ron Paul did AOK. We love you Ron! The only honest man left in Washington.
    Ron Paul 2012

    September 14, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  12. Grant

    What's delusional is believing that our health care system can continue as it is. What's delusional is thinking that there can't possibly be a better way for health care to be delivered than through government bureaucracy. What's delusional is pointing to other "civilized" countries who use the same fiscal smoke and mirrors to pay for their leviathan health care systems and claiming that we should have one, too, when most of these countries are themselves close to insolvency. Wars and social welfare programs are bringing an end to civilized society as we know it, and the US is blindly following in the footsteps of the bankrupt Europeans. When the social welfare systems fail, like they did in the Soviet Union; when there are health care programs in name only that deliver no services because there is no money; then who is civilized and who is a barbarian?

    September 14, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  13. Jamie D.

    Ron Paul's campaign manager received treatment and was not allowed to die, they were just not able to save him. Ron Paul and his staff raised 50 thousand dollars to help pay down his bills. The hospital didn't try to collect the other 350 thousand.... Ron Paul talks the talk, AND walked the walk. The REAL question, and lesson here, is WHY the hospital charges over 400 thousand dollars for a few weeks worth of treatment, and some antibiotics. You can buy 2 nice houses for that price. Government involvement in healthcare drives up the costs.

    September 14, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  14. Chad

    I love how people are saying "he could have just said no". He DID say "no" but the press have done such a good job at deceptively inserting the words of an audience member - that many people don't even know how he actually answered. This whole Ron Paul smear campaign is a good lesson in the moral bankruptcy of the press corps. CNN/MSNBC/FOX are all united on this point.

    September 14, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  15. Jamie D.

    Indy, take an honest look at the problems they have with universal healthcare in countries that have it. There was a 20/20 special on how much more innovative privatized healthcare is. People come here from Canada regularly, because they're put on a waiting list for treatments. Politicians make healthcare decisions, instead of medical professionals. With the growing population of retired and aging Americans, just like social security, there will be more people on these programs than there is people paying into them. As costs climb, there would inevitably be rationing. The resources will be limited, experimental treatments would probably be eliminated or drastically reduced, as there would be no incentive to pursue new drugs and treatments since it costs so much up front to develop them, the government wouldn't fund that, or be able to. Would older people get the same treatment as younger people, when resources are limited (which they will be)?

    September 14, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  16. Ali

    Go RON!!! Las Vegas Nevada has got your back!!!!!!!

    September 14, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  17. Shena

    Ron Paul 2012!

    September 14, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  18. Noah

    True compassion does not come from the government, it comes from you! If you love the poor, serve in a shelter- offer free services to those in need. Ron Paul did just that as a doctor in the 1960's before medicare and he never accepted medicare after it was instituted. He gave from the heart and the mindless masses criticize him for lacking compassion!? Stop giving the responsibility for loving the poor to the government! He did not say 'let the uninsured die' he said let them go to their churches, families, communities; let them ask YOU for help! Will you help?

    September 14, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  19. todds

    A completely free market for medicine means that anyone can claim to be a doctor or even a surgeon or a prayer doctor. We would be right back with the snake-oil salesmen and the wake of death they leave behind them. As for the teabilly that screamed the answer, I hope that he DOESN'T find himself in a position where he doesn't have the coverage to save his life. No one with an ounce of humanity would ever hope otherwise.

    September 14, 2011 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  20. Aaron

    Paul sounds more like Dr. Kevorkian than Dr. Compassion. If you're worth less than $10 million, Repubs would prefer to let you die anyway.

    September 15, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  21. Julian Alien

    It is all quite simple folks.If you think that the State in which you reside is going to let you die,move out of that State.Florida is one of the most dangerous States to live in,and I do believe that there could be cannibalism soon as there is already evidence of Voo Doo practices.Get out while you still can!Go!!!Do not take unnecessary belongings.Just save yourselves and your pets and flee!.

    September 15, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  22. Dr. paul man with the cure

    Ron Paul 20121

    September 15, 2011 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  23. Inez

    When asked if society should let the hypothetical man die, RON PAUL SAID NO!!!!!!!!!

    September 15, 2011 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  24. Consensus

    .... it's widley agreed that no more than 4 people in the crowd shouted "yeah" or other affirmative... those four people are idiots and all the people who are condeming the tea party for those actions are jumpy liberals chomping at the bit for a reason to slam anyone on the right...

    September 15, 2011 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  25. garlicsmasher

    It is not compassionate for the vast mojority of republicans and democrats to sign obamacare into law without doing anything to address costs this bill will have the same effect on the fee structure in medicine as government intervention in the funding of higher education costs will rise those great many who are living below the poverty level will pay nothing while the rest of us will get raked over the coals It is the special interests control over the way regulation and licensing are implemented that is causing the lack of health coverage for so many people. It has to do with costs and now were facing government inforced profits for the insurance and big pharma interests. much like the effect the c.r.a. had in housing the prices will inflate and fewer and fewer of us will beable to pursue are dreams while the politicians continue to reep the benifets of the lobbying intrests that created this mess. we need free market principle in play to bring down costs then coverage will be in the grasp of the majority of americans

    September 15, 2011 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
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