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Ron Paul: “Churches Took Care Of ‘Em, We Never Turned Anyone Away.”

Submitted by on September 14, 2011 – 9:09 am9 Comments

Yesterday I wrote an article about Monday’s Tea Party Debate entitled “Why Ron Paul Would Leave You To Die & Other Tea Party Insights.”

Paul is a physician, who reportedly often worked pro bono to avoid accepting Medicare and Medicaid. In his book The Revolution: A Manifesto, he claims that doctors in the 1960s felt a “responsibility towards the less fortunate and free medical care was the norm.”

But that’s not what he said at Monday’s debate. Neither did he say on Monday, as many claimed, that he treated patients for free. Here’s the closest he came to an answer, word-for-word:

“I practiced at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio, and the churches took care of ‘em, we never turned anyone away from the hospitals.”

Allowing churches to pay for care is very different than treating patients for free.

I maintain Paul evaded this particular hypothetical question, waffling between a demand that the uninsured man accept the ultimate responsibility for his decisions, and a vague promise that the community’s charity would save him.

This hesitation is surprising given Paul’s astounding candor and conviction, which have always made him stand out from the usual political pandering. Though I strongly disagree with Paul on many issues, I have always admired his ideological consistency and his eagerness to follow those ideals to their logical conclusions, even when they are unpopular or unpleasant.

Generally, Paul shows an admirable ability to defend his views even in the face of extreme circumstances. On the eve of Hurricane Irene, and even knowing his own congressional district’s historic loss to hurricanes, he insisted that FEMA was a waste of money. And he famously drew applause in conservative South Carolina while defending the potential legalization of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine as a freedom granted by state’s rights.

And in another of my favorite debate moments from Monday, he stood up to Rick Santorum‘s dangerously simplistic view of foreign policy with a stance that was nuanced and well-informed. It drew boos from the crowd, but Paul held strong.

Given these precedents, I hope Paul will continue to voice his views clearly and proudly, and not shy away from any question.

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  • Dan Warner says:

    I dont think he meant to evade the question at all. I dont see this as an act of omision. The time constraints and combative format do not allow a candidate like Ron Paul to give full explanation of their positions. This ‘time’ factor is prefered by the media because they can turn almost anything into a ‘gotcha’ question. This was an obvious ambush, and it is also a shame that the segment is now being used to smear him because someone in the audience yelled out in support of letting the straw man die if he had no insurance, even though Ron Paul said ‘NO’, and then gave his abbreviated explanation.

    If given time I am sure he would have explained his past as a doctor much more clearly. An example would be that he made private payment arrangements available to his patients, as many doctors did back then.

    To be honest, his sometime stumbles are exactly why I really like the guy. He is not ‘rehearsed’ in his responses (admittedly a fault in our sound bite world)….

    Thanks for your time


  • jim edwards says:

    The problem with most of these 60-second hypotheticals is that they are not too different, rhetorically, from asking “have you stopped beating your wife, yet ?”

    Under the current, heavily-regulated system the young man is asked to pay “$200-300 per month” for medical insurance that covers major medical PLUS checkups and many minor medical procedures – whether the man wants to buy the services bundled together or not.

    Most of the cost of “insurance” is actually NOT insurance – it’s a pre-paid medical plan. …Plus the very large overhead needed to process claims for minor services that should be paid out-of-pocket. [only a fraction of the cost is to cover the sort of major medical event described by the question put to Dr. Paul]

    One might argue that people can’t afford to cover the cost of a broken arm, or an abortion, but you should consider that many people have $5000-10000 per year deducted from what their wages could have been. Minor medical services on a cash basis are much cheaper than many realize. Price a checkup at a readi-care clinic…

    Think auto insurance. You buy auto insurance to cover infrequent, expensive events that you couldn’t afford, if they occurred. You don’t expect your auto insurance to cover new tires, oil changes, leaking radiators, and other expected / affordable expenses. Could you imagine the cost of an oil change if you had to work it through your insurance company’s claims department ? What about the inconvenience of your carrier demanding that you only service your car at ABC auto repair [the "preferred provider"] ?

    True medical insurance should cover the sort of tragic medical event described in the question – and little else.

    Under Paul’s preferred, free-market system, people would be covered for fewer medical services by their employers / the government, but they would also have a combination of somewhat higher wages and/or lower prices. [because, right now, the price of most minor medical procedures are passed through to customers' purchases from employers who provide goods and services we use. Lower market costs would make it somewhat more favorable for job creation; somewhat higher demand for workers creates somewhat greater power for workers to demand higher wages]

    The ‘major medical plan’ Dr Paul would like the hypothetical young man to be able to purchase might cost $50, in a system where the young man might have an additional $75 per month [or more...] in purchasing power.

    The policy might cost more if the young man wanted to choose certain risky activities, like motorcycle-riding or rock-climbing. Right now, we say it’s “unfair” if a person who wants to savor more risk is expected to pay more.

    Once the government is redistributing resources to cover accidents that were once covered by the free market, it then often uses that as a excuse to ban people’s chosen activities. [smoking, helmet laws...]

  • jim edwards says:

    A little bit of history is often useful.

    People used to pay for medical care out-of-pocket.

    The reason we switched to a system in which medical services are paid by employers is because the sainted Franklin Roosevelt made it ILLEGAL during world war II to offer higher wages to potential employees as an inducement to come to work.

    You can’t fool the free market during a labor shortage. Employers began to think of ways to provide other services instead of cash to draw workers.

    Many manufacturers offered free or reduced-price company housing.

    Common goods such as food, fuel, cars, and tires were strictly rationed by the federal government – so employers couldn’t offer these.

    Many started off-setting other expenses – such as medical care.

    Some had company doctors; other offered Blue Cross-type insurance. KAISER, which built ships for the war effort, started building hospitals for its employees.

    From the beginning, people understood that medical and housing benefits were a type of wages – and employers would be paying higher wages if the government hadn’t made it ILLEGAL to do so.

    Once the war ended, and rationing and wage controls went away, employer-paid medical plans probably would have disappeared, too if it weren’t for a loophole in the tax code.

    If your employer gives you an extra $10,000 in wages, you have to share ~30+ % of it with state and federal government.

    If your employer gives you $10,000 in medical benefits, your taxes don’t increase !

    Without the tax-advantage, workers would prefer cash and try to reduce their healthcare expenditures so they had more cash available to do other things.

    With the tax-advantage, workers want benefits and have no incentive to use them conservatively. Everybody wants the type of “Cadillac plan” that would bankrupt the system.

  • fyi2day says:

    “Let’em Die”

    I am glad you are not attributing the “let’em die” quote to Paul as many others are in the media are. If you will pardon the pun, Paul is “dead” right on this. I will try and expand for you if I can on what many people believe who support Paul.

    I am sure we all hope and agree, that those shouting from the audience, “whose affiliations we can not know,” do not themselves find a need for the kind of help and compassion someday our hypothetical 30 year old needs.

    This issue is not complicated it has only been made so by special interest. And yes, government bureaucracies are special interests too! Their job is to sustain or grow themselves and maintain their own jobs.

    Rhetoric aside, we all know the hypothetical man here will get treatment if for no other reason than the compassion of our great doctors and their own Hippocratic Oath. That has always been the way in America. Americans are a compassionate people already.

    Now the question defining how these costs should be paid for?
    Re-empowering our religious and other private charities through tax incentives provided to their donors is the simple answer. It is a free market approach that creates all the benefits of free market checks and balances. You create accountability here where there is little in government bureaucracy, especially one as large as to deal with this challenge nation wide. Charities get donors by doing good work and good work attracts “tax incented” donors to give support. As a culture we need to get back to looking to ourselves and our neighbors rather than putting faith in a far off federal government to handle challenges that are literally right in front of us locally.

    Localization should be reflected in the urging of our States to take back jurisdiction on issues that can be dealt with creatively at the state level. Empowering all 50 states & 1000’s of communities nationwide to solve these important issues we will create innovation that would be sought modified and perfected throughout the nation just as is done in any true free market. The benefits are undeniable and give us all the greatest opportunity to participate in real compassion in our country.

    Today a group of people lifted a burning car from a man and saved his life. People saw the need banded together and helped their neighbor the concept is the same. Where would that man be if they all just waited for the government to solve that? How successful would they have been and in the end what would it have cost?
    Those people created direct action to a problem in front of them in their community. They created a positive and successful outcome and it cost only the compassion in there hearts to do it. I’ll bet it made them feel good too!!!

    We can do this America! He may not be slick, but he is correct about many of these things and seldom gets his full message out through the corrupt media. Do not let the media machine be judge and jury on Ron Paul. Take back your liberty and your country.

    Here is an article on media consolidation from 2004 by Ted Turner –
    My Beef With Big Media http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0407.turner.html
    I do not support all Turner’s politics but, commend him as a great American entrepreneur in writing this article after selling to Time Warner.
    The MSM achieved power by successfully lobbing for changes allowing mass consolidation. Ron Paul threatens this. Other candidates and the president supported this consolidation and are beholden to one corporation or the other. Therefore, you will most likely never hear ideas like this discussed in open debate. “Now more than ever liberty needs advocates.” With the American free press, an essential part of a successful democracy, all but dead, we must all be vigilant now.

    Do the American people really care if Goldman Sachs let’s General Electric (Obama/Biden) or Halliburton (Bush/Cheney “insert Perry or Romney here”) run the place this time? I guess that’s yet to be seen. But, I can tell you many of us traditionally Non-politicals are fed up with losing the essence of our great country to communists and carpetbaggers alike.
    Ron Paul is offering an alternative to the corporatist model that Eisenhower warned of, and has all but taken over already. A vanished free press has left us with the left and right media outlets complicit in keeping Paul’s message from a waiting public.
    If not Ron Paul we will surely end up with Clint Webb as president. So you must continue spread the word, educate your busy family, friends, and neighbors to spend an “honest hour” looking at Paul and convey the importance of Ron Paul getting that republican slot. Switch parties if you have to…

    “First they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win.”
    They are beginning to fight… Make no mistake this is a fight for your very freedom and the fate of American liberty.
    The Government has too much, does too much, and in our high tech world now, knows far too much about the lives of private citizens and we are paying for it all…
    This can not stand it is not necessary and the temptation for corruption is far too great.
    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    - Ben Franklin –

  • Tobias says:

    I just wanted to know if you did your research, because as far as I’m away Santa Rosa Hospital was founded by a church and is a faith baseed organization, so therefore the hospital(the church) was footing the bill, the point is it was charity. And since most hospitals were founded by churches, that has been the norm.

    My Grandfather was a physician in the Pittsburgh area and I remember him saying that the doctors would try to distribute the charity cases so if you were a doctor delivering babies for example, you might have to do some freebies.

  • Jackson Baer says:

    He’s the only honest man running for president!

    Ron Paul 2012


  • The Courier says:

    Wow. Someone noticed Ron Paul. The media blackout shall into smears. Uh oh. Someone’s scared.

  • [...] Ron Paul: “Churches Took Care Of 'Em, We Never Turned Anyone Away.”DrJays.com LiveHere's the closest he came to an answer, word-for-word: “I practiced at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio, and the churches took care of 'em, we never turned anyone away from the hospitals.” Allowing churches to pay for care is very different than …Debate exchange offers window into larger question about role of health careCBS NewsRon Paul lets sick friends die?The Vancouver Observer (blog)all 210 news articles » [...]

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