Ron Paul: Americans should be allowed to “opt out” of Obama’s healthcare system

This Wednesday afternoon, Ron Paul joined Lew Rockwell, Gary Johnson, David Boaz, Wayne Allyn Root, Shelly Roche, Michael Shanklin for an insightful discussion of Obama’s healthcare plan, the revolt in Iran, as well as other political and economic developments.

Part 1: (Ron Paul)
Part 2: (Ron Paul)
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Channel: Fox News Strategy Room
Show: Freedom Watch
Host: Judge Andrew Napolitano
Date: 6/24/2009

Transcript of Ron Paul’s appearance

Judge Andrew Napolitano: It’s my great pleasure to introduce one of America’s great defenders of freedom in Congress and elsewhere. Congressman Ron Paul joins us from our nation’s capital. Congressman Paul, welcome to Freedom Watch.

Ron Paul: Thank you, Judge.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Also joining us is my dear friend and mentor Lew Rockwell, founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, a research and educational center, a classical liberalism and Austrian economics, familiar to many of you. Lew.

Lew Rockwell: Judge, it’s great to be with you.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Welcome back to the show. Thank you. Congressman Paul, first to you. What is your greatest fear if the President’s healthcare proposals become law?

Ron Paul: Well, if we don’t get some modification, what you will see is the cost of medical care skyrocketing. At the same time, there will be price controls placed on it and then you’ll have scarcity and the quality of care will go downhill.

The only saving grace could be if they allow something to be put in there where you can opt out of the system and take care of yourself. Although it would be a disaster trying to put 80 or 90 percent onto the government, if you’re allowed to opt out, at least, there would be a little bit of hope to keep a little bit of strings tied on the Federal government. Right now, it doesn’t look really good for the patient.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Lew, even if one were permitted as Congressman Paul just articulated to opt out of the system, isn’t it fanciful to think that insurance companies could really compete with the government? I mean, for example, why should the head of any company provide private insurance for his or her employees if the government is going to provide it at taxpayer expense anyway?

Lew Rockwell: Well, Judge, you make a good point and I think that it would be tough. On the other hand, one only has to visit a VA hospital or Indian health service hospital or any other government medical facility to realize what a disaster and what a disgrace these things are. So certainly, anybody who is allowed to opt out seems to me who financially could do it, would opt out. The trouble is, when we do not allow, for example, people who are over 65 to opt out of Medicare, they’re forced into it, so we do not in this country have good record of medical freedom.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Notwithstanding the President’s promise, Congressman Paul, that if you like your present insurance company and you like your relationship with your physician, you can keep that carrier and keep that relationship, don’t you think that the government would intrude even into the physician-patient relationship?

I mean, we heard this morning talk about best practices. Some sort of a panel of physicians hired by the government who will tell other practicing physicians what menu of choices is available for them. That’s not role of Federal government should be playing in our lives, is it?

Ron Paul: No, absolutely not and, you know, you might not have this so-called freedom to opt out, which has its shortcomings, but what if the doctors are getting tired of this? What if they’re 50 or 60 and just decide to retire, which many have already started doing with this managed care system.

Our system is very imperfect right now. That’s why everybody is complaining about it, but it’s very imperfect and eventually, you’ll lose your doctor anyway. I mean, do the Canadians have a choice of their doctor? No, I think it will be restrictive and I’m just convinced that the ultimate result will be poor care for all Americans, except for the very, very few and the very rich.

Of course, there were always a few in the Soviet system that went to a private physician, those were the political hacks, the people who were the political powerhouses. They didn’t go to the clinics, so there is always a special elite, and in this country, up until now, of course, people got pretty good care and I remember practicing medicine before we had any insurance.

I don’t think we can solve any of these problems unless we decide to define what insurance is. This has nothing to do with insurance. This is just paid care. Everybody has this “right to medicine.” Judge, I’ve heard you mention this before, too. This assumption that you have a right to medical care, that’s a wrong assumption. It’s sounds good, but it sets us on the wrong track and it leads to the disaster that we’re facing.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Somehow the government has succeeded, Congressman Paul. You know this better than anybody because you’ve been spending the bulk of your professional career battling against it. In convincing the American people that government is the solution and people say to me as I’m sure they say to you, “All those 40 million uninsured Americans, what do you expect to do with them?” Shouldn’t the government be the absolute last resort and in the case of the Federal government, because it’s not authorized by the Constitution, no resort? Can’t the free market address almost any problem of that magnitude if unimpeded by government regulation?

Ron Paul: Yeah. That’s right. They don’t have the right to do it and once again, I think it’s a definition of insurance; to be insured against an accident or against cancer or whatever, when you’re 20 years old, you might even have a different attitude about insurance. I don’t recall my parents having insurance in the 1950s and they paid cash. Well, you know, it wasn’t all that expensive.

Right now… and another thing people don’t talk about is there’s a lot of price inflation in medical care. We have a lot of monetary inflation. CPI is not going up, but the cost of government and the cost of medical care is skyrocketing and therefore there is a monetary phenomenon on this as well.

And, of course, Obama says, “Oh, we have to lower the cost.” And everybody is going to have this free care and they never ask the question, where does this care come from? I mean, does the government… can the government deliver care? No, they can only confiscate it from those who provide the care one way or the other and unfortunately, it’s doomed to fail. It’s really a sad tragedy because we’ve given up on even thinking about how you could possibly deliver medical care in a free society.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Lew, isn’t one of the truly insidious natures of what the President is proposing that it might get passed and people might order their lives and expectation of receiving these services, sort of like seniors do now with respect to Medicare and it might become politically impossible to end or stop or return to the free market?

Lew Rockwell: Well, it is very difficult. We can always look at what’s happened in other countries and whether it’s the UK or the countries in Europe, or Canadda for that matter, when they adopt these programs, it becomes politically tough to get rid of it. On the other hand, a the recent court decision in Canada showed that it is possible even under these systems to expand freedom. I think we’re just going to have do it ourselves. I know a group of doctors who are thinking of buying a cruise ship and stationing it 12 miles off the coast in New York and offering, you know, medicine where you pay for it. You pay the doctor and the doctor is responsible to you as the employer. That’s the proper thing in medicine.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Right.

Lew Rockwell: But everything has been wrecked ever since we’ve had these third-party payers because we’re all responsible to whoever is paying us, so the doctor is not responsible for the patient. The patient is just a bump on the road to get over to get the check from Blue Cross or Medicare or Medicaid or whatever else, so the system is already very bad. I think we need to think about how we’re going to if they succeed in putting this through and offering us all Walter Reed care for vast amounts of money, we have to think about how we can secede from the system. In fact, I think that’s a very good thing to think about in education. In many other areas, we need to secede from this tyrannical system.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Unbelievable that we would actually have to leave the country in order to get the healthcare to which we’re entitled. Congressman Paul, I know on this hectic Wednesday afternoon, you have to go and vote.

Ron Paul: Right.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: But I wanted to ask you a question about something you and I talked about over the weekend. Last week, the House of Representatives voted with only one dissent to condemn the apparent outcome of the election for president of Iran. You were that dissent. What was the House trying to do and why did you dissent?

Ron Paul: Well, they were trying to send the message that the President wasn’t speaking loudly enough for the dissenters on the streets of Iran and I have nothing against that, as a matter of fact, I think that’s very encouraging. But it also raises more questions than answers who is behind it. Is our CIA behind it? You know, we’re spending… we have a program of $400 million to undermine the government of Iran. So Mousavi is not necessarily a saint either and this resolution sounded like it may be endorsing him.

But my position is strictly constitutional. Mind our own business. We can’t sort all this out, and if freedom fighters around the world are showing that they can change their system, we should welcome it and praise it, but we don’t need to imply that we know what’s going on and who we should condemn and pick sides, but the reason Obama was correct in this was, you know, he said something similar. He said, “Why should we speak out because we might get blamed or it might look like a UN,” but he had more at stake. Although what I said was somewhat similar, he had a little bit more protection. He knows that there’s some evidence to show that we are constantly involved in many of these countries and it isn’t a big secret that we had a program to undermine the government of Iran and, Judge, I’m sorry, but I will excuse myself now, if that would be all right.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Absolutely, Congressman Paul. Thanks very much. Thanks for joining us.

Ron Paul: Okay. Thank you.

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  • Nick Johnson

    I am now reading Catastrophe by Morris who advises that Obama’s plan is to “rationalize” healthcare. I just want to know, what do we as American’s have to do to defeat this plan??? Giiven all the facts, I see we will have a long, long wait for healthcare.

  • Christine

    The government is deeply in debt and is behaving like a person who is deeply in debt. First it taxes the people for its mistakes (not ours), gives bailouts to the wealthy to cover over their mistakes, buddies up with foreign countries to get cash to spend wildly, for which it will tax the people for generations to come. It has opened up new lines of revenue by collecting interest on home loans, taking foreclosed homes to profit from, is part owner in the car industry for interest on car loans and profit from sales, and now wants to be your health insurance to collect premium for another stream of income. YOU DO NOT WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO HANDLE YOUR INSURANCE. It will not lower costs. 2/3 of the cost for the program will be money already allocated to other defunct medical programs run by the government and 1/3 will be paid by us!! …and that’s on top of the monthly premiums. Medical insurance will be mandatory, whether you can afford it or not. The government will impose a fine if you do not have health insurance. The government’s health insurance will drive costs down and other medical insurance companies out of business…..less and less jobs and more layoffs over time. Obama said in his townhall meeting that we could not do the changeover to a government health care system only because it would be too disruptive……but what he didn’t say is that it will be slowly disruptive as health insurance companies go through downsizing, layoffs and out of business because they cannot compete with the government’s health plan.

    YOU DO NOT WANT A GOVERNMENT PROVIDED HEALTH CARE PLAN TO LESSEN COSTS, as if that will lessen the cost of care. I worked for State government, had bookoo insurance, but could not afford to use it because of the amount left over the insurance company did not pay! Pure profit for the health insurance company…all those monthly premiums and no claims, and in the case of government provided health care, it would be pure profit for the government at our expense (not savings). Government employees are not efficient, caring, timely, accurate, responsible, competent…most of them rest on the assurance that they cannot be fired…no matter how lousy their job performance. When you are in your time of need, sick and in need of health care coverage to pay your medical bills, you do not want to be negotiating with an inept government employee! With at least two government provided medical programs on their resume, medicare and medicaid, that are near collapse, I wouldn’t hire them!!

    Health care providers themselves need to be able to lower their costs to affordable….with no middleman (insurance company) needed. Insurance is a highly profitable business. Why else would the government want to get involved? It needs our money!


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