Ron Paul: Leave Government Out Of Insurance Plan

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One of the
strongest opponents of government intervention in reforming the
health care industry is Ron Paul — a Republican congressman
from Texas. He’s known to some as "Dr. No" for his opposition
to tax hikes and refusal to vote for spending bills. He’s a doctor
by training — an OB-GYN — and he’s written a new book
called End
the Fed
— as in the Federal Reserve. He tells Weekend
All Things Considered host Guy Raz that he doesn’t believe health
care is a right.

Download
MP3 interview here.

Ron Paul:
I do not believe peoples’ needs or desires or wants or demands are
rights. Once you do that, you embark on a system of government that
is uncontrollable. You have a right to your life, your liberty and
you should have a right to keep what you earn. So I do not believe
medical care is a right. And that’s one of the problems that we’re
facing today and why there’s so much confusion on what we ought
to do about health care.

Guy Raz:
Congressman Paul, yesterday we spoke with Sen. Ron Wyden. He’s a
Democrat. Like you, he opposes a government-sponsored health insurance
plan. Here’s what he’s proposing: He wants a market-based solution
— an exchange — that would have all insurers compete for
your business and mine. But unlike the current plans floating around
Capitol Hill, Ron Wyden would allow everyone to take part in that.
Would you back something like that?

Ron Paul:
Well, from what you told me, that sounds like I should certainly
think about it. But sometimes when they’re offered in that frame
of mind, it means sometimes that they force you to participate.

Under the
Wyden plan, and to some extent under the [plan by Senate Finance
Committee Chairman Max Baucus] currently circulating in the Senate,
health insurance would be a mandate. Most people would be required
to buy it.

Yeah —
and that wouldn’t be something that I could support, because once
the government gets in and either mandates something or regulates
it or subsidizes it, it’s no longer insurance. If they want to call
that a social welfare program, they would be more honest. But they
shouldn’t ever use the word "insurance." Insurance is
a market phenomenon. When you buy something and somebody’s paid
to measure risk, like life insurance, people understand that.

This whole
idea that anybody that already has a condition can demand insurance
is sort of like saying, well, your house is burning down, and you
go to the insurance and say, "Hey my house is on fire. Can
I buy insurance?" Everybody knows it doesn’t work that way.
And we here on the coast in Texas, if there’s a hurricane in the
Gulf, we can’t go out and buy insurance. Otherwise, the insurance
companies would all go broke and the government would have to bail
them out. So you have to — once again — think about insurance
if you want better care and cheaper care and more care for more
people, you have to look to the market for the distributions.

If it was
left to market devices, how do you envision that working to help
insure all Americans?

Well, about
opposite of what we should expect when we go to total government.
And we have a pretty good record of showing what we did in this
country up until the 1960s. I recall working in a church hospital
for $3 an hour and nobody was ever turned away and nobody was left
out in the streets. And just think of all the church hospitals that
have been closed down because the invasion of government into the
health care industry.

But who
would pay for them?

Well, who pays
for the Shriner hospitals? Charity takes care of it, the churches
take care of it. When government takes care of it, the bureaucrats
get paid. And insurance companies become the lobbyists, the drug
companies become the lobbyists, the management companies become
the lobbyists, doctors get squeezed, the patients get squeezed.
You can’t put all these corporations in between the doctors and
the patients. You have a form of corporatism, which motivates the
type of system that we have now, and it’s not any better. Some worry
that Obama would give us socialized medicine, but he isn’t. He’s
giving us a continuation of corporatism. He’s forcing people to
buy insurance. The insurance companies love it! They love to see
20 or 30 million more people being forced into the system, and they
will have more customers.

Ron Paul,
let’s move on to your book now, End
the Fed
. You want to replace the Federal Reserve with a
money system that would be backed by gold or other commodities.
Is that right?

Yeah, basically
I want to follow the Constitution, and that’s what the Constitution
says.

Read
the Rest of the Article

See
the Ron Paul File

September
21, 2009

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

© 2009 National
Public Radio

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