Ron Paul: We Need Free-Market Healthcare, NOT Obamacare

Healthcare Reform Passes

by Ron Paul

Following months of heated public debate and aggressive closed-door negotiations, Congress finally cast a historic vote on healthcare late Sunday evening. It was truly a sad weekend on the House floor as we witnessed further dismantling of the Constitution, disregard of the will of the people, explosive expansion of the reach of government, unprecedented corporate favoritism, and the impending end of quality healthcare as we know it.

Those in favor of this bill touted their good intentions of ensuring quality healthcare for all Americans, as if those of us against the bill are against good medical care. They cite fanciful statistics of deficit reduction, while simultaneously planning to expand the already struggling medical welfare programs we currently have. They somehow think that healthcare in this country will be improved by swelling our welfare rolls and cutting reimbursement payments to doctors who are already losing money. It is estimated that thousands of doctors will be economically forced out of the profession should this government fuzzy math actually try to become healthcare reality. No one has thought to ask what good mandatory health insurance will be if people can’t find a doctor.

Legislative hopes and dreams don’t always stand up well against economic realities.

Frustratingly, this legislation does not deal at all with the real reasons access to healthcare is a struggle for so many – the astronomical costs. If tort reform was seriously discussed, if the massive regulatory burden on healthcare was reduced and reformed, if the free market was allowed to function and apply downward pressure on healthcare costs as it does with everything else, perhaps people wouldn’t be so beholden to insurance companies in the first place. If costs were lowered, more people could simply pay for what they need out of pocket, as they were able to do before government got so involved. Instead, in the name of going after greedy insurance companies, the federal government is going to make people even more beholden to them by mandating that everyone buy their product! Hefty fines are due from anyone found to have committed the heinous crime of not being a customer of a health insurance company. We will need to hire some 16,500 new IRS agents to police compliance with all these new mandates and administer various fines. So in government terms, this is also a jobs bill. Never mind that this program is also likely to cost the private sector some 5 million jobs.

Of course, the most troubling aspect of this bill is that it is so blatantly unconstitutional and contrary to the ideals of liberty. Nowhere in the constitution is there anything approaching authority for the Federal government to do any of this. The founders would have been horrified at the idea of government forcing citizens to become consumers of a particular product from certain government approved companies. 38 states are said to already be preparing legal and constitutional challenges to this legislation, and if the courts stand by their oaths, they will win. Protecting the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, should be the court’s responsibility. Citizens have a responsibility over their own life, but they also have the liberty to choose how they will live and protect their lives. Healthcare choices are a part of liberty, another part that is being stripped away. Government interference in healthcare has already infringed on choices available to people, but rather than getting out of the way, it is entrenching itself, and its corporatist cronies, even more deeply.

  • John

    Your account has been banned from Huffington Post. This is what I receive when I attempt to post a comment on Huffington Post. Yet non of my comments are any more or less abusive than others simply not Liberal. What happened to the 1st. Amendment. When I try to sign on with AOL they will not let me either. At some point a court action will need to solve this action. As for Ron Paul I hardly knew him and have been around for some time. However, he is misunderstood. He is too kind and thoughtful to be a politician. He does not know how to make executive orders that kill children like Rick Pary or wonderful speaches that plundge the nation into further debt like OBAMA.

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  • Roberta Sanders

    This is a succinct, brilliant comment. It sums it all up.

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  • Rpicardo

    I have a suggestion on how to make health care more affordable for baby boomers. Why don’t you give a tax break for doctors and hospitals that opt out of medicare? Medicare artificially sets (high?) pricing for exam fees. Many doctors cant survive without charging these high fees and accepting medicare, but if they get a tax break maybe they can charge lower than Medicare fees. Another bonus for doctors is that they don’t have to follow the Medicare definitions on what is a “full” procedure which also throws in bells and whistles that often is not needed in the actual care of the patient.

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  • maineliberal

    Why is single payer considered socialized healthcare. At worst its socialized insurance/payment.

    Single payer is really no different than school vouchers. It provides a free market choice to the patients what doctor, hospital, clinic they see and when and how often and its paid for. Its nothing more than an open ended healthcare voucher.

    There are too many profit motives in the current system that do nothing to lower costs. Insurance has no incentive to lower costs, they will either lower their coverages and reimbursments or raise premiums, co-pays and no-pays.

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  • 1111cb

    Food for thought
    we were looking into a vacation and Amish are sounding more and more like Americans who understood something about big government a long time ago.

    is this the answer???

    found this at
    “Self-employed Amish do not pay Social Security tax. Those employed by non-Amish employers do pay Social Security tax. The Amish do pay real estate, state and federal income taxes, county taxes, sales tax, etc.

    The Amish do not collect Social Security benefits, nor would they collect unemployment or welfare funds. Self sufficiency is the Amish community’s answer to government aid programs. Section 310 of the Medicare section of the Social Security act has a sub-section that permits individuals to apply for exemption from the self-employment tax if he is a member of a religious body that is conscientiously opposed to social security benefits but that makes reasonable provision of taking care of their own elderly or dependent members. The Amish have a long history of taking care of their own members. They do not have retirement communities or nursing homes; in most cases, each family takes care of their own, and the Amish community gives assistance as needed.”

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    • asha

      What about if a man or woman doesn’t have children or couldn’t have children and he/she lives on his own? Who is going to take care of them?

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    • J

      Yea thats the Amish. Surprisingly they seem to be the only ones actually practicing what Jesus preach. Instead of all these so called “Christians” in this country that want to throw other people under the bus.

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  • Blake

    Need to clarify a few things to others reading this post.

    Statement: “There are thousands of natural, herbal, and generic drugs out there and work much better than the patented monstrously profitable drugs that are pushed on doctors and taught about in medical school.”

    Response: Many prescription medications are derived from natural products. See lovastatin. These medications are profitable, I agree. This is generally taught in medical school. Generic medications are the preferred medications for many physicians. Generic substitutions are performed by most pharmacies and mail order pharmacies. Cost-effective is not the same as plain “effective” for other medications. Direct to consumer drug advertising also drives high priced brand name medications.

    Statement: “They only spend two years in the classroom, learn nothing about immunology, nutrition, biochemistry, or a number of other essential medical subjects, however they tend to take three courses in behavioral medicine where they’re told to prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicines for nearly anything and everything.”

    Response: You can generally see each medical schools curriculum online. Most if not all require immunology, biochemistry, and nutrition. Not sure what “three courses” of behavioral medicine you are referring to. Modern medical education prepares the student to deal with behavioral issues in four years of medical school with further training during residency.

    Statement “You can’t find doctors that understand the causes of disease, because it’s more profitable to treat the symptoms, this is what they’re taught.”

    Response: Pathology, histology, pathophysiology, physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, immunology, etc are all required courses in medical school. Generally, treatment can only be initiated after thorough evaluation. “The cause of disease” is the cornerstone to medicine training. Preventive medicine is taught and practiced by all primary care.

    Statement: “You can’t get your insurance to cover an herb at 1/100th the cost of a patented prescription drug because the herb was never able to be patented to start with.”
    Reponse: Patients have the ability and right to pursue alternative medicine. Insurances generally don’t pay for over the counter options. I agree, however, drug costs are often inflated.

    Statement: “Our doctors are for profit drones of PHARMA and the AMA.”
    Response: Great majority of physicians aren’t members of the AMA because they no longer feel this organization represents them. You can find these statistics through reputable sources. PHARMA “kickbacks” are not the norm in my experience. A free lunch to discuss new medication still occurs, however. The vast majority of physicians are reimbursed by our current medicare, medicaid, and insurance system.

    Statement: “With a totally free market, PHARMA, AMA and even AHIP, still control the schools, the research (which is mostly fraudulent to manipulate data allowing them to make a profit on something).”
    Response: Can’t necessarily prove a negative. Certainly data can be manipulated. With large businesses such as Enron and Worldcom operating under questionable business practices it stands to reason PHARMA may as well. However, most research is performed in academic centers with government funding.

    Statement: “That allows them to keep as many people sick as possible, on as many brand name drugs as possible, and as many doctors uneducated in science based medicine as possible.”
    Response: God help us if this were true.

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  • Arthur Roberts

    Ron Paul is perhaps one of the more intelligent congressman out there, but I think that he may be over simplifying the free market’s ability to lower the price of health care. The free market does not work the same way for the heath care industry as in other industries. For example, people often think paying more for health care means better health care. Aside from education, there aren’t many industries where paying more is better. This is one of the forces that is driving the price of health care. Doctors can also contribute to increasing the cost of health care because they have no incentive to reduce their price. In other words, a doctor that gives more expensive tests and charges more is a “better” doctor. Also, individuals that don’t have any insurance drive up the overall cost of health care because they don’t generally participate in preventative medicine and they tend to get treated in the emergency room. In this case, insurance companies and individuals absorb the cost of these people. There are probably more, but there is a third force that “increases” the cost and is brought up a lot is malpractice lawsuits. This is somewhat of a myth, since it only represents about 2% of the total health care cost. Now, the question is: How does one reduce the cost of health care?

    1) I think doctors should be well compensated for their years of education. On the other hand, doctors should not be rewarded for unnecessary tests or treatments. One way to give doctors an incentive to reduce costs is to pay them a flat rate.

    2) I think everyone should get adequate health care, but this doesn’t mean they can get every test in the world. Thus, there has to be some inherent limits placed on what can be done on an individual, unless that person is willing to pay for it. By limiting what someone can get, that would reduce the cost.

    3) Preventative medicine reduces costs by preventing individuals from getting sick and treating them when they are not very sick. For example, providing physical education and nutrition education in school would be an example of preventative medicine. Another example is encouraging people to have a primary health care physician. This doctor might spot a disease before it is too advanced.

    4) Everyone needs health insurance. As stated above, people without health insurance cost everyone a lot of money. This would reduce the cost by spreading around the risk.

    5) As stated above, malpractice only represents 2% of the health care cost and is not really going to be a strong driving force. However, there should be some limits on compensation, when an individual can give informed consent. Medical treatment and drugs are inherently risky and health care is never 100% safe. People should be made aware of that.

    6) Competition between insurance companies as Ron Paul stated above would likely reduce the cost. However, the insurance companies should be required by law to provide a minimum amount of health care. Otherwise, we all end up paying for it, when the individual with the cheap and poor quality health insurance shows up the hospital and gets treated.

    I consider myself a conservative on many issues and I am skeptical with the government running anything. However, I never hear conservatives complaining or wanting to eliminate Medicare, which is an example of government run health insurance. The United States is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t have universal health care. Surprisingly, instead of paying less for health care in the United States, we pay 50-100% more per capita than other developed countries (i.e. Switzerland). The United States is the best country in the world. We should be able to reduce our health care costs by 50-100% to the level of other developed countries. I think the big failure of conservatives in congress on the issue of health care was their apparent unwillingness to engage and negotiate with the democrats. Without all the unintelligent rhetoric, we might have ended up with a more workable and reasonable health care law.

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    • Fred the Protectionist

      This isn’t a Republican Rally, it’s a Ron Paul website.

      Gee wiz. *thumbs back*

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    • scottsfield

      “The United States is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t have universal health care.”

      Who do you think these people get their technology/medicine etc from? The U.S.A because we don’t have a universal health care system. The people creating these great things don’t do it solely based on curing the sick. They think yea in America I can make a killer profit on inventing this. When we don’t have that kind of innovation will we look to countries with universal health care that have always waited for us to create the technology first and sell it to them for pennies to our dollars?

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    • Arthur Roberts

      I am actually one of the scientists producing the technology scottsfield is referring to and I can say that Europe and other developed countries that have Universal Health Care contribute a lot to medical technology that we use. Dialysis was invented by a dutch physician named Dr. Willem Kolff. Drs. Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell cloned the first mammal (i.e. a sheep named Dolly) in 2003 at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh in Scotland. The first robotic surgery was done at Imperial College in London on a robot named , the PUMA 560. I can give a lot more examples including contributions by both european and american scientists on the same technology (i.e. magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)). I hate to say this, but Scottsfields arguments are based on emotions and not based on any facts. He is an example of why conservatives have lost a lot of credibility during the George W. Bush years.

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  • Lisa M

    I usually vote for the candidate that I think is best qualified for the job. I did not vote for Obama, because he gave us enough information to know he wanted our great country to become a socialist society. The only way he won, was by promising FREE HEALTHCARE to everyone, and it brought out everyone who was looking for a free ride. Nothing is free. You cannot give something to one person, without taking it from another. I wanted health care reform, but this is not the bill I wanted. I thought they were going to over haul the insurance companies, there fore, making people with pre-existing conditions, able to afford, good quality healthcare, at an affordable price for them, or making policies affordable for families who made too much for government assistance run programs, but not enough to buy a policy, able to buy a policy that would fit within their budget.

    Instead, what we got was not what the people wanted. Just look all over the internet, talk to people, who were democrats, who are enraged at what they were duped into believing. It’s not only what was passed, but how it was passed. All sneaky, behind closed door deals, to get the votes for this. Now I am not saying sneaky deals have never gone on before, but they didn’t listen to the people. They basically said, we don’t care what you want, this is what we want. Forcing people to buy insurance at the crazy rates they charge, is not what the people wanted. How do they expect someone who is not working, not earning paycheck, to be able to buy a policy? Oh they say, then apply for a government subsidy. Hello, isn’t that just going around and around in a hamster wheel??

    Look just how great other government programs have turned out. They are all broke. Anyone who thinks by adding 32 million more people to health care, and still expecting to receive good, quality healthcare, is just fooling themselves. If the government wants to save money, how about instead of hiring 16,000 IRS workers to enforce their rules, they hire 16,000 people to expose the welfare cheats? Why is it, my husband and I have to take random drug tests to earn our paychecks, yet those on the receiving end do not have to?? Who wouldn’t like to hang out, get high, and get a check? If someone needs government assistance, then they have to pass a drug test, same as I do, in order to get a check. Why should I work so that someone else can reap my hard earned tax benefits? When do I get to keep a little bit more of my paycheck?? Pretty soon, those 5 days a week I work, 3 of those will go to taxes, instead of the two that already do. We pay a huge premium for our health insurance, and I like our provider. We do not have any pre-existing condtitions now, but who knows what may happen health wise down the road to us? But that just not even relavent anymore, for our exisiting insurance company won’t be around any longer in 2014.

    What about our seniors?? What’s going to happen to them? My parents are getting closer to retirement, and I’m terrified that when this all takes effect, and they become ill, they will not be able to receive medical care, by being able to get into the doctor that day. Instead, they will be put on a waiting list, and have to wait. Government run healthcare will be rationed, for everyone, but especially for the elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions. Is this what the people wanted? Not this person, that’s for sure. But I guess it won’t matter in the years to come, since our society will slowly die a slow death. Think of all the babies who will be aborted, less people to insure, less people to keep our once great country going.

    They don’t care about us in congress. If they did, then they would be held to the same health care reform rules as the rest of us, and not be exempt from them.

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    • Fred the Protectionist

      “I usually vote for the candidate that I think is best qualified for the job. I did not vote for Obama, because he gave us enough information to know he wanted our great country to become a socialist society. The only way he won, was by promising FREE HEALTHCARE to everyone, ”

      Nooo, Obama didn’t win. McCain lost.

      Big difference.

      Neither of the 2 major parties represent a majority of Americans (and neither do the Libertarians).

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      • Ryan

        Fred, do tell us who represents the majority of Americans?
        Given your passionate hatred of Libertarians you must believe it to be something very, very far to the left; Totalitarianism, perhaps?

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        • Fred the Protectionist

          It’s very simple. The Republicans and the Democrats (and the Libertarians) don’t represent the majority of Americans. Can’t you get that through your thick skull.

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  • Libertarian777

    I wonder how long before Congress passes a ‘jobs bill’ that requires you to work 60 hours a week for $7/hr.

    And if you don’t do it, they’ll fine you $5,000.

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  • maniam

    Re- “another wall street bonus”-wsj 25/3/2010.

    Build America bonds.

    Briefly on article.

    Bonds with 7%
    -4.5% paid by issuing city(people pay)&
    -2.5% paid by fed.(also people pay-through taxes/tariff/land sale/privatization-very clever bankers.)

    Us cities,states and the feds have issued more than 2.5t in ’08 and 2t in 2010.

    Last April,New Jersey turnpike authority sold 1.3b but needed only 250m because great demand.(not because require by project!)
    (like geese stuffed to create foie gras.they did this to 3rd world countries/banana republics,etc.)

    Wall street pocketed 1b in fees in less than a year.

    Goldman has taken out advertisement urging congress to make program bigger and permanent!

    …no one mentions the downside:Build America bonds will add hundreds of billions of dollars of new liabilities to the balance sheets of cities,states and uncle Sam.

    Let see how bankers carried out the looting.
    (i)directly 4.5% from issuing city gov.
    (ii)indirectly 2.5% through feds(privately owned)-multiple earning steams.
    Feds turn paper/debts to money.
    loan money to treasury in exchange for bonds.
    (bonds pay interest to feds/bankers.)

    feds use bonds as reserve and create 10 times through fractional reserve banking.
    (loan some to local gov,cities,states,
    some to companies,
    some to mortgages,
    some to speculators-stocks/commodities/currency,
    some to proprietary trading,
    some to cronies to take over companies,
    some to attack targeted countries’ currency/markets.)

    The looting and plunder start all over again.

    And when no one believe/trust them,they go to church and said they are doing god’s work.

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