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.