Ron Paul Says Uninsured Shouldn't Be Left for Dead; Tea Party Audience Disagrees (Video)

Categories: Politics
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Texas Rep. Ron Paul
In our poll yesterday, around 42 percent of our readers thought that the Tea Party audience made the most outlandish comment at Monday night's CNN/Tea Party Express Republican debate.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul was asked a hypothetical question during the debate by moderator Wolf Blitzer about an otherwise-healthy 30-year-old man going into a coma after an accident and he doesn't have health insurance -- so who pays for it?

"That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks," Paul said. "This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody..."

Blitzer interrupted Paul, asking, "But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?"

That's where the Tea Party audience and Paul -- the only medical doctor among the GOP hopefuls -- disagreed.

Before Paul had a chance to answer the question, several of the Tea Party folks responded, "Yeah!" or with cheers.

Paul, on the other hand, didn't advocate leaving people for dead.

"No. I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid, in the early 1960s, when I got out of medical school," Paul said. "I practiced at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio, and the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals."

Check out the clip of the Tea Party death panel in the debate audience below:




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13 comments
Pierce Randall
Pierce Randall

(1) Paul didn't really disagree with Blitzer's subjunctive. He went into some non sequitur about his background. Paul said that churches and charities should help the man, but that doesn't answer the question, "Should we let the man die if there's no charity to help him?"

(2) If Paul were consistent with his other beliefs, which is all the true believers in the crowd are trying to get him to do, he would maintain that the man ought to die if nobody but the government is in a position to help him. Paul doesn't believe that churches ought to be compelled to help the uninsured, nor does he believe that government ought to help the uninsured. Presumably, he shouldn't support current laws that force hospitals to treat the uninsured at extreme liability. All this amounts to passing the buck to no one: i.e., letting the man die if no charity will help him.

AminCad
AminCad

Libertarianism succeeds in health care because once paying for others becomes institutionalized, as it has for the most part in the Western world since the 1970s, then the industry because bureaucratized, and people rely on the 'free health care' for all of their medical needs rather than it being used only as a last resort.  In a free society, meaning one where people/institutions choose to care for those who can't pay, rather than being mandated to do so, the needy still get the care they need, but people don't grow dependent on it, because the free service is not institutionalized/mandated. This more personal relationship between given and receiver of the free care results in no one taking it for granted.  This leads to a generally more responsible society, and just as importantly, it doesn't require as many regulations micromanaging how health care is provided and at what cost. Fewer regulations leads to more flexibility and fewer compliance costs, leading to gradual improvements in efficiency and reductions in the cost of health care goods/services, exactly the opposite of what has happened in the health care sector in the recent past.  What bothers people about the free market in the health care sector is the possibility, and yes the possibility exists, that the compassion doesn't materialize, and someone in need of health care dies without it.   This risk is in actuality quite minimal, but because of people's zero risk bias ,they would prefer to eliminate the risk, at the expense of enormous inefficiency being introduce in the health care sector, and in the economy in general, which actually adds a lot more risk to the population, but in a dispersed manner that is less easily noticed (this same reason is why terrorist attacks get so much attention, yet pool accidents that claim far more lives each year don't).  People have to be rational about this and realize that free markets are the most effective way to organize society, and that health care, being such a large and important part of the economy, needs free markets more than any other.

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

Don't ever board a plane with Ron Paul...or ride in his motorcade.

Wink Wink

SFDB
SFDB

Yeah, another "gotcha" question! Next thing you know the stoopid librul media will be asking these candidates whether anyone should die of starvation in America. Total setup!

.

Jason Rickman
Jason Rickman

What a set-up. No one else was singled out with a hypothetical question. Funny thing is, it was designed to trick Paul into wavering on his priciples of liberty, and it backfired in CNNs face.

I also noticed the question was posed in a way where the right answers could only be: a. letting a man to die, or b. government assistance. Why isn't the individual responsible, then his loved ones, then charity?

glass slipper
glass slipper

Ron Paul is a man against retards in this race.

 It is unbelievable that Ron Paul even has to share the stage with this motley collection of fools.

FirstTimeVoter
FirstTimeVoter

The 5 guys who yelled "yeah!" are the same 5 guys who booed Ron Paul's explanation of why we were attacked on 9/11. 

The terrorists don't hate us because "we're free." They hate us because of all foreign (including Soviet) occupation. Follow this link to see a pre-9/11 interview with Bin Laden: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/vid... Paul 2012

AminCad
AminCad

--Paul said that churches and charities should help the man, but that doesn't answer the question, "Should we let the man die if there's no charity to help him?"--

That's not what Wolf asked. Wolf presented a false dichotomy, because there's a third option: the government can not pay for the man's health care, and the man can still be saved.

If Wolf had asked the question you're asking now  "Should we let the man die if there's no charity to help him?" then Paul could answer:

"If people are not voluntarily willing to save the man, then it would be immoral to use the force of government to make people save the man. Freedom means having the freedom to choose whether to be charitable or not. We should not force our personal morality on others"

And his answer would be framed properly, in the context of people's rights.

Pierce Randall
Pierce Randall

Do you think it would be more efficient to do a credit check on everyone presented to an emergency room before the hospital performs medical care? Or should we just slough and unfunded liability onto hospitals, as we currently do, requiring them to treat everyone who comes in for emergency care regardless of their ability to pay? It seems like that liability is a greater intrusion into private market activity than a state-funded (or managed) insurance scheme for the indigent.

Anyway, why is risk dispersed throughout a system better than large individual risks? Why can't we say that people are mistaken who believe 3,000 dying merely by being in the same place at the same time, as opposed to more people dying systematically through some social problem, amounts to a worse situation?

saraslogg
saraslogg

I was uninsured and had four emergency room trips during that time period. Wow! Do you really think I was able to get the government to pay for that? I never even considered that option! Do you honestly think that happens???! I paid for it! Full price, not the cut "allowable" rate an insurance company considers...Who are you people who think that the government "steps in" to take care of anything a citizen needs? You have woven quite a story that is wholly fiction.

AminCad
AminCad

"Do you think it would be more efficient to do a credit check on everyone presented to an emergency room before the hospital performs medical care?"

That's not what happened before federal mandates came into force requiring hospitals to treat every one.

Some people didn't get all of the medical care they needed, but people weren't denied emergency care.

The biggest difference with the pre-federal-mandate/Medicare era was that medical care was much much cheaper.

It didn't cost thousands of dollars for a few-day stay at a hospital. This meant that charity was much more capable of providing at least some level of care to those in need.

Yes, it wasn't perfect, and not every one got every thing they needed, but the alternative is central economic planning like the US and Europe currently have, which causes health care costs to skyrocket, and innovation to stagnate.

Compare the medical services industry as a whole to those fields of medicine that operate largely in the free market: Lasik and cosmetic surgery. The latter have seen their costs come down and their quality improve dramatically over the last few decades, because the flexibility of the free market drives progress.

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