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July 22nd, 2009
10:38 AM ET

Health care not a right, Ron Paul says

President Obama is getting ready to push his health care reform plan in a prime time press conference tonight. He's hoping to win over the American people as well as members of Congress who are skeptical about the plan.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has been a very vocal critic of the president’s plan. He spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.

Kiran Chetry: You're a physician as well and I'm sure that you have a lot of thoughts on this issue as we debate health care. You oppose President Obama's reform plan. You favor giving Americans control of their health care. Does it boil down to two different philosophies over who should get health care coverage? Do you believe not everyone can expect free or low cost health care?

Ron Paul: Yeah, I think there's a lot to that. But I come from the viewpoint that the most important thing we do is preserve the doctor/patient relationship, which we do not. For the past 30 years or so we've had a lot of government involved. We have veterans care, we have Medicare, we have Medicaid and we also have a lot of people getting private insurance. People having private insurance are not all that unhappy. So what are we doing now or at least Obama is proposing that we turn the people that have service on insurance and make them join the governmental programs that everybody is unhappy about.

So it doesn't make any sense. It's a total failure to run anything by a bureaucracy. It always costs more and the services are always less favorable. So for us to pursue government solutions to a problem the government created sort of reminds me of the T.A.R.P. bailouts. You know what we do financially. So medical bailouts by more government when government created our managed care system of 35 years will only make things much worse.

Chetry: One of the things we've talked about is whether or not independents are backing this. There seems to be some eroding support because of concerns about whether or not we can afford it, whether or not the timing is right. Even though there is that apprehension right now about whether or not we can afford it most do agree that we need to do something about health care. Is there a Republican alternative out there that makes more sense in your opinion?

Paul: Oh, yeah. I think so. I think we should pursue the idea that the patient get control through the medical savings accounts and deductions so that you can deduct everything. The biggest problem is the misunderstanding about insurance. They talk about we need to give everybody insurance. You can't give people insurance – you don't expect from your car insurance to be able to buy gasoline and do all your repair bills and that's not insurance. And this is not insurance either. Insurance would be major medical to take care of the big problems.

That is one of the basic problems. As far as costs goes, they’re estimating $1 trillion or $1.5 trillion in the midst of this crisis no wonder people are starting to wake up a little bit. Because the money just isn't there. The one thing for sure, is if you look at every other previous program by government, if they proposed that say the prescription drug program would cost $49 billion, well, it might turn out to be $150 billion. It's always much more so if they're saying $1.5 trillion for this, be sure it's going to cost two or three times that much.

Chetry: What do we do, though, about this problem with, you know, uninsured children, many people uninsured – the millions? Your state by the way, according to the United Health Foundation survey, ranks 46 out of 50 in terms of overall health. And one of the biggest challenges for your state right now is that there's a high percentage of children in poverty and a big uninsured population. So, there you are opposing this, your state seems to be in dire straits when it comes to this situation. What's the solution for Texas?

Paul: Well, one thing you have to do is say, why do people come up short and why is the cost so high? It's inflation and it's a government management of the health care system that is at fault. But even though I have my ideal system I would like to see with the government out completely because that would be a much better system, that's not going to happen. I’m realistic. One thing we shouldn't do is pay for it with money created out of thin air. So what I would do in a transition, I've talked about this a whole lot, is cut spending somewhere and take care of the very people you're talking about. Because you don't want to cut, under these conditions, medical care from poor people who have been dependent or the elderly.

But I would cut from overseas spending. I would cut from these trillions and trillions of dollars that we have spent over the years and bring our troops home so that we can finance it. A first, very, very minor step was done yesterday by cutting the F-22. I applaud Obama for that. We don't need one system removed – we need to change our foreign policy. Then we could afford the health care that is necessary to tide us over until we have come to our senses and believe freedom can deliver medical care much better than a bureaucracy in government. You have to deal with the problem of inflation as well because that's why people find that medical care costs too much.

Filed under: Health • Politics
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. kaia

    the one comment about the canandian who superglued his laceration because he didn't want to go wait in an ER waiting room for hours....well what do you think its like in the US. Walk in right away and get treated? The average wait time in a metro area is 4-6 hrs and thats if they are not backed up with real life death emergencies. and if you think your insurance now allows physicians to do their jobs, you don't know whats happening. any service can be denied for something as simple as not documented in records to a missing diagnosis to not an emergency. So that my friends already happens. The insurance companies have us by the b%@!$ and we are all paying more out of pocket for services, let alone the cost to have insurance.

    August 19, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  2. starchild

    Although I know some opposed to this health plan are unsympathetic to the poor or uninsured, it's not safe to assume that most or all are. What Democrats don't understand about Republicans is that they're not necessarily unfeeling to the poor, they just don't trust the government or want their intervention. This doesn't mean that they necessarily think the poor and uninsured should be left out to dry. I think they just don't want to be MADE to do anything, because it takes away the freedoms of the sovereign being. Many of them might give to free clinics and the like. They want to help of their own volition.

    And to Republicans, Democrats aren't necessarily looking for a handout. (Although there are of course exceptions) Some just don't get along well in this system. I personally think it's very difficult for pretty much everybody to find a place in it. As far as I go, I'm not lazy, but I refuse to work at a job in which I will have to sacrifice my happiness. I make the sacrifice and go without extra money and healthcare so that I can work at a job that I like. While I don't believe others should provide for me and I don't want anything to do with ANY government bureaucracies, I do think it's unfortunate that our system is very difficult to live in.

    I think nothing would do this country more good than for people to really research and get into the mind of the other political parties. We are spending SO MUCH time, energy and effort fighting amongst each other when in reality we are ALL getting screwed over and when you really get down to the bottom of it what is REALLY screwing us over it has nothing to do with party affiliation. I think we really need to forget about all the extra stuff and really get to the bottom of what's going on in our system. Then I think we can solve most of our problems.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  3. TomMc

    Whether health treatment and the it being paid for is a right or privileged is a great talking point. What I am hearing and reading is bullet points and talking points that solidify or engage. I want to know how long this will take to implement if it was passed today vs 3 months from now. I have not seen enough details on the implementation to feel that there really is a plan vs a this is what we want. If this is the case, then why not get a good debate and why rush this for a vote in the next 2 weeks. I understand it is a issue that needs to be addresses, but any legislation that is rushed and very large in page numbers is generally bad.

    If this is a great idea and the legislation will cure all ailments, why not extend this out to Medicare, medicaid, veterans care, etc.... can't we consolidate all of the other programs and have them enter into the exchange.

    If the greatest issue for the federal budget is Medicare and Medcaid, does this really address this.

    Is this really a way to get around the Bill of Rights to finally get a way for Fed Govt get its own rights to do for you. Wasn't this the entire reason the bill of rights was written?

    July 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  4. Jim

    I agree, healthcare is not a right, it is a privilege. The right to healthcare starts with taking care of yourself, being responsible enough to maintain yourself a quality of life that does not over indulge. Maintain a job, maintain your health and the need for medical care diminishes. Accidents will happen, but an ounce of prevention may minimize the accidents and the need for outrageous healthcare costs. GREED is the driving factor for insurance and the lack of accountability for ones own actions is the icing on the cake, i.e. putting a hot cup of coffe between your bare legs while driving and then not taking responsibility for a dumb move. Blaming others seems to be the norm instead of the exception. As a presently unemployed individual, I am concerned about healthcare costs, but the present economy and unemployment situation is way out of the norm. I am more concerned about the wasted time debating all of these things and lack of responsible action utilizing common sense.

    July 23, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  5. Kara

    Here: You're absolutely right and I agree that everyone SHOULD have health care coverage. I don't, however, agree that it should be given to them. People need to start taking responsibility for themselves and stop expecting handouts at the expense of others. And if you knew anything (I'm assuming you don't since your statements are off) about government student loans, you would know that you're maxed out at less than $2-3,000 per year depending on what year in school you are. So, depending on your education costs (I was an out of state student), government student loans account for a minority percentage; Not most or "all" like you insinuate. As for myself, about 1/4 of my student loans are from the government. You're comparing apples to oranges because government student loans are my sole responsibility. They don't hinder the lives of others and I'm certainly not expecting the government to go tax everyone else so that I can repay my student loans.

    July 23, 2009 at 9:56 am |
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