Friday, September 16, 2011

"Let Him Die": GOP Debates the Fate of the Uninsured

Ron Paul at the 2007 National Right to Life Co...Image via Wikipedia

A debate question exposes the incoherence—and cowardice—of the Republican candidates' opposition to Obamacare.

Wolf Blitzer put a terrific question to Rep. Ron Paul at last night's CNN/Tea Party Express Republican debate in Tampa, Fla. What should happen, the moderator asked hypothetically, if a healthy 30-year-old man who can afford insurance chooses but foregoes buying it—and then becomes catastrophically ill and needs intensive care for six months? When Dr. Paul ducked, fondly recalling the good old days before Medicare and saying that we should all take responsibility for ourselves, Blitzer pressed the point. "But, Congressman, are you saying the society should just let him die?" At that point, the rabble erupted in cheers and whoops of "Yeah!"

It turns out that Ron Paul has a particular experience with the hypothetical question asked to him by Wolf Blitzer. In fact, his campaign manager from 2008 died from a lack of insurance.
Paul’s 2008 campaign manager, Kent Snyder, went through a strikingly similar experience to Blitzer’s hypothetical one, dying of complications from viral pneumonia just two weeks after Paul ended his presidential bid. Snyder was uninsured, so family and friends were forced to raise funds to cover his $400,000 in medical bills. Their efforts included setting up a website soliciting contributions from Paul supporters.
The episode reflects what Paul himself argued should be the free-market ideal for health insurance policy. During Monday night’s GOP primary debate, the libertarian Republican made the case that health insurance coverage was a choice. If one decided to forgo it, he ran the risk of mounting bills. If a patient was on his deathbed, it wasn’t the taxpayers’ responsibility to pick up that tab.

Remember Rep. Alan Grayson's overview of the Republican Health Care Plan which he presented on the House floor in 2009?  It said "Don't Get Sick" and "Die Quickly if you get sick". Some were outrsged, but listening to the Tea Party audience at the Republican Debate, it seems like the way they want to go.
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