Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

John Hawkins Headshot

I Agree With the People Who Yelled "Yes," We Should Let Him Die at the Debate

Posted: Updated:

There's a lot of controversy over a question asked to Ron Paul at the Tea Party debate and the response yelled by a handful of audience members. Here it is....

BLITZER: ...A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, you know what? I'm not going to spend $200 or $300 a month for health insurance because I'm healthy, I don't need it. But something terrible happens, all of a sudden he needs it.

Who's going to pay if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?

PAUL: Well, in a society that you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him.

BLITZER: Well, what do you want?

PAUL: But what he should do is whatever he wants to do, and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would have a major medical policy, but not be forced --

BLITZER: But he doesn't have that. He doesn't have it, and he needs intensive care for six months. Who pays?

PAUL: That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody --

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die? (Handful of people in the audience: YES!)

PAUL: No....

First of all, as per usual when dealing with the Left, the actual question here is regularly being taken out of context. In Blitzer's question, he wasn't referring to someone who couldn't afford insurance. He was talking about someone who had the money and just decided to spend it elsewhere.

One of the dirty little secrets of health care in this country is that a lot of the people who don't buy insurance can afford it, but choose not to do so. For example, if you're one of the 10 million illegal aliens in this country, why would you pay for insurance? You're going to get free care when you go to the emergency room anyway and you won't ever have to pay your bills since you're here under an assumed identity. Then there are young Americans. A lot of them are willing to roll the dice, forget about insurance, and hope they don't get seriously ill. If we're perfectly honest, we should admit that MOST OF THEM will win that bet. Should they buy insurance anyway? Yes, it's the smart thing to do because even though they PROBABLY won't become seriously ill, the downside risk is so extreme that if they come up snake-eyes, they could pile up more debt than they could pay off in a decade or two.

What we should recognize, however, is that this is a health care problem we have largely created for ourselves. If we tell people, "Whether you buy health insurance or whether you don't, we'll still treat you and then, if you get too far in over your head with the bills, we'll let you declare bankruptcy" -- well then, millions of people will do just that. Because we start with that ludicrous proposition as a given, we've gotten into a place where so many people feel like they have to run the Constitution through a shredder in order to force people to buy health insurance as a condition of citizenship.

Here's an alternate idea: How about we give out tax credits that allow every American to buy health insurance if they want it and if they choose NOT to do so, then we let them suffer the consequences? Some people would make the "wrong" decision and then they'd get ill and be unable to afford treatment. At some point, churches, foundations, or wealthy Americans would probably step in to provide clinics to try to give those people SOME help, but there would be people who fall through the cracks. That's the downside of having a truly free society. However, the alternative of having an all-powerful government that tries to control every aspect of our lives to make sure we all "do the right thing" is much worse.

Instead, why not let people take more responsibility for their own lives, allow more people to choose their own health insurance, watch as the cost of care drops, and as a bonus, we wouldn't have to throw the Constitution out the window.

Around the Web

Advocacy group challenges GOP candidates on 'let him die' question

Why libertarianism fails in health care

Tea Party Audience: Let Him Die

GOP's dueling orthodoxies in health care: 'Let him die' or Party of Life?

Why Are Some Americans So Shockingly Cruel?

  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results
Register To Vote