Rep. Ron Paul, Republican candidate for president, is being blasted for indicating in the Sept. 12 GOP debate that a critically ill 30-year-old man with no health insurance should be allowed to die. At least that’s what his opponents would have you believe.
The audience applauded and yelled, “Yes!” when moderator Wolf Blitzer asked if the man should just be allowed to die, and in some quarters that’s being represented as Paul’s stand.
I agree with what Paul said, not the misrepresentation of what he said. Each of us is responsible for paying for our own health care. Whether we pay cash, insurance premiums and co-pays, or goods and services to some old country doctor, paying our bills is our responsibility. No one else’s. Where did anyone get the idea that anyone is entitled to “free” health care?
What may look like “free” care from emergency rooms or other entities is not free. Somebody is paying for it — usually other patients or taxpayers or policyholders or customers who are paying more to subsidize your “free” care. That’s wrong. It’s your health, your care, your responsibility. You should pay.
So, what about Ron Paul’s uninsured 30-year-old? The hypothetical man was said to be healthy and just didn’t want to buy insurance. Understandable. Insurance is expensive. It’s also a game of odds. Do you feel lucky? If so, don’t buy it. If you stay healthy, you win. But if you don’t, you lose, you pay big, and you might even die. So you have to weigh the cost of insurance premiums you know you’ll pay against the high medical bills you might have to pay. It’s a gamble. Which will cost you more in the long run, a $300-a-month insurance premium or a one-time $500,000 hospitalization? The gamble is yours. Why should anyone else have to pay your bills if you lose?
Ron Paul’s patient lies dying in a hospital because he can’t pay for the surgery he needs. Chances are, things will work out as they have in the past, long before Obamacare tried to “fix” things. Chances are his friends and family will hold fundraisers, his church will pitch in, his community will help. The hospital might waive some costs. A doctor might donate his services. Chances are he won’t be left to die in his bed. But if he wants to improve his chances, he’ll carry insurance, even if only a minimal major medical policy. (And no, I don’t support Obamacare‘s public mandate; I think it’s unconstitutional.)
Paul has been made to sound heartless, when in fact he’s only saying we should all be responsible adults and pay our own way. He and I are both old farts, so maybe we think alike. Maybe we both think that the way we used to care for ourselves and our health and our financial obligations worked just fine.