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