Ron Paul Exposes Obamacare on Freedom Watch

Ron Paul slammed Obama’s unconstitutional healthcare package on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch. The Congressman announced that he will introduce legislation to stop the government from forcing people to buy health insurance.

Show: Freedom Watch
Date: 01/24/2010


Judge Andrew Napolitano: Hello and welcome to Freedom Watch, your daily dose of raw liberty online at I’m Judge Andrew Napolitano here, defending freedom, defending your natural rights, and defending your right to have a government that’s stays within the confines of the Constitution.

National healthcare is now the law of the land, and it raises a fundamental question: can the federal government compel any person to have health insurance? Congress will claim that the answer is yes, because Congress may regulate interstate commerce, persuant to power granted to it in the Constitution. But the original grant of this power meant that Congress should keep commerce regular. That is, it should ensure that the staes don’t interfere with commerce by imposing tariffs on the movement of out-of-state goods into the states.

But, over the years, Congress has pushed the envelope and regulated more than just commerce. It has regulated the salaries and working conditions, and the costs of the goods of those who manufacture what moves in interstate commerce. The courts, as well, over the years, have gone along with this.

But the Congress has never compelled individuals to engage in interstate commerce by forcing them to purchase something. My view is that this is clearly unconstitutional, as well beyond the power given to the congress in the Constitution.

Joining me now is one of America’s great defenders of freedom and liberty today, and the author of the bestseller, “End the Fed”, Congressman Ron Paul joins us from Capitol Hill. Congressman, welcome back to Freedom Watch.

Ron Paul: Thank you, Judge.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Can anybody take seriously before all the drama over last weekend, whether or not Congress even has the power to do most of what is in that 2,700-page bill that the house passed by 5 votes?

Ron Paul: No, they don’t take it seriously. Matter of fact, they do believe that they are obeying the Constitution because you hear them on the TV all the time, that the interstate commerce clause gives them the right to do it. And they also say the general welfare clause justifies everything that they’ve done. So no, they don’t lose any sleep over this, and the point that you make about forcing them to buy something is obviously very unconstitutional.

There will be a lot of legislation introduced dealing with this. And hopefully it will get into the courts and clean it up. But in the meantime I am going to introduce one piece of legislation which will be very narrow. And it will be directed towards this mandate of forcing you to buy something. I think I can do that in less than one page, and I think that’s the kind of bill that people understand. So I will be introducing legislation to repeal that provision.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: If your legislation is not passed and if this legislation that the president signed yesterday stays as the law of the land, what do you think is the long term financial impact on this country which is already broke, which is already trillions in debt?

Ron Paul: Well, it just means a lot more bankruptcy, it means healthcare is going to be a lot worse. You know, take the whole idea that you can force somebody to give insurance to somebody, even until they’re 26. Why isn’t that an agreement between the customer and the insurance company? So this will be very costly, and where are they going to get the money? They’re going to either have to get a bonus from the government, or the insurance companies go bankrupt. So these kinds of mandates are all over the place. And, of course, the mandate that is really atrocious is the collection of about $400 billion worth of new taxes. That, of course, is why they are planning to hire 16,500 more IRS agents.

So it is a bad bill all the way around, and it will hasten the day of the bankruptcy of this country, and the American people will have to face that. So it would be a terrible way to bring this to a head. But indeed it will. It will put us in such financial shape, that this country will have to decide, “Do we want to live in a free country, or we want to live under totalitarianism”. And the point that you made about mandating and forcing people to buy something that they don’t want and maybe don’t even need, I think is a major step in the wrong direction.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Do you think that when it actually comes to the bankruptcy of the federal government – well, it’s already bankrupt – an acknowledged bankruptcy of the federal government, before the people who run the Congress today would recognize the economic lunacy of what the president signed into law yesterday. Stated differently, how bad would things have to get before even the Democrats realize that this thing has gone too far?

Ron Paul: Well, countries go bankrupt differently than individuals or companies. They get bankrupt because the banks won’t loan them any more money and they have to pay off the debt. Individuals have to take an extra job and cut spending. Governments and countries never do that. What they do is they print money. And then when the dollar quits functioning, when you see the bond market crack – and there are some slight cracks in the bond market right now – interest rates are creeping up. Someday the bond market, the bond bubble will crash. That means interest rates will go up, price inflation will come warring back. We have the monetary inflation already.

So it will be the economic laws that will declare this. The Congress won’t all of a sudden say, “Hey look, we have to do something”. Because when Congress has a choice there is no serious indication here in this government, and unfortunately on both sides of the aisle, when push comes to shove, they’re not willing to really, really cut anything. Because if you talk about domestic welfare spending and foreign spending, you know, there’s support for both of these types of expenditures. So the people here in the Congress aren’t quite ready. But hopefully the signs that we’re seeing that the people are waking up, maybe we’ll get some help here to do the right thing.

Ron Paul: Do you think, Congressman Paul, that there are many people in the Congress who crafted this legislation, with the burdens that it imposes on insurance carries: like you can’t say no to anybody, no matter what they’re pre-existing condition is. You can’t say no even if they come to you after the onset of the pre-existing condition. You can’t raise premiums to adjust for the pre-existing condition. Do you think that things like that in the bill were written in because there are people who voted for this who really want insurance companies to go out of business, because they want us to have either the Canadian or, God forbid, the British model, where there are no private contracts between individuals and insurance companies, and the government is the sole payer, either as the employer of the healthcare entities, or as the persons, or as the sole third party payer. Do you think that’s what they want?

Ron Paul: Well, I think so. I think there is a bunch of them that like that. I think that may see this as chaos coming, and this will give them a chance next go around to have a one-party payer, which is more total control of the government. So they knew they couldn’t pass that right now, so they did back off. And this is, once again, what I call tokenism; it’s a major token this time. But we’ve been doing this for a long time. I mean we’ve had in the 1940s the beginning of the government involvement in the Hill-Burton episode. And, you know, through the 1950s and 1960s, it’s every decade we have more and more. And, of course, even with the last administration we had prescription drug programs.

But so far they haven’t been able to totally overwhelm the corporations. Corporations have a lot to say about what’s happening: whether it’s a management company, insurance company, the drug companies. They have a lot to say about and their lobbies are strong. So even though there is more mischief and more mandates and more controls, those individuals here in the Congress would like to see a single national healthcare system, and that’s what they’re working on. But let’s hope we wake up before that happens.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: Alright. If this legislation accomplishes what the president and his folks say it will, then the 30 or 35 million Americans that don’t have health insurance, soon will. Where will the healthcare providers come from for those folks? And if you could think about this question as well: if you were back at Duke Medical School, would you have the same incentive to become a physician today that you did when you studied medicine?

Ron Paul: Well, I think I’d still have some of the same incentives, because hopefully people will realize that there are some of us who did go into medicine for the right reason. But even with the incrementalism of the 1960s when I first started medicine, government wasn’t that much involved. But I just refused to get engaged in that, because I think what is most important is the doctor-patient relationship. But they claim there will be a lot of doctors drop out, and nobody knows how many will. Because, you know, they have to also think of, “Well, how am I going to make a living?”

They might have training and they have all this expenses to say this is disgusting and drop out. It’s a hard decision. But I would think the better people may well not go into medicine. I think the quality of the physician will certainly go down and that the quality of medicine is obviously going to go down. And we will have more cost containments, more regulations, more rules. We will have rationing of care which happens under all these systems. So, I can’t understand how anybody could be optimistic about the bill that has just been passed.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: I couldn’t agree with you more. Congressman Ron Paul, thanks for joining us on Freedom Watch.

Ron Paul: Thank you, Judge.

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  • cindy boua

    Ron paul offers no solution to the skyrocketing health care costs. I wonder if he has government sponcered health insurance ?


  • Jeff

    As for evidence of the aforementioned items. I am actually compiling them for you. Aproximately 20% of the adult population of the United States reads at a level below the fifth grade. The Economist. The number of checking accounts that drew out more than they had in their accounts is reported at the Fed. Last year it amounted to approximately 18% of the checking accounts had negative balances at least once in the year. A negative balance by definition suggests you wrote a check with no money in the bank. Otherwise known as not balancing your checkbook. And as for hourly workers for which there is the only data reports by employers (voluntary obviously) approximately 14% of the work force is later than 15 min to work at a scheduled time. This last stat I am currently hunting down as to its source. The federal government has blamed that on a myriad of social issues and transportation issues. I am very glad this does not depict your behavior.

    So what if we instituted a tax on you the non-tardy well educated and obviously educationally affectionate parent who balances his checkbook because others do not. Hmmm, sounds like current government policy.

    • Forest

      So, the point is, the average american can, and does, do all of those things – and as you had inferred in jest really only a tiny percentage cannot do any of them.

      Without quibbling too much (i.e. in no way does having a negative balance once in the year mean ‘cannot balance their checkbook’) none of those stats even amount to one fifth of the population. This means at least 80%-85% of the American population meets that criteria or are better.

      Being that a minority have a 1:5.5 and a 1:6 chance of meeting two of your criteria, and a subset of the population (parents) having a 1:5 chance AT MOST half of the population has ONLY ONE of those faults and NOT the other two while HALF of the population has NONE of those faults. Kinda changes the view of ‘average’ I guess…

      • Jeff

        Since I can see that you are a bit slow on this. The point of the exaggeration in my original post was to point up the fact that most Americans do live up to the requirements of being responsible. And though you took the bait, I was actually hoping that some of the dopey left wing folks would have jumped on the opportunity of agreeing that a nanny state is necessary, I would say that these data as displayed are small bits of a much larger picture. Number one among them is the failure to hold individuals accountable for their decisions in the current system. As for passing checks with insufficient funds that is commonly referred to as check kiting and if done often enough will end up getting you a not so comfy bed in jail…so balancing your checkbook appears to be a problem for a number of people but certainly not most. There is also the nagging fact that a person who floats a check for which there is no balance may have a higher probability of meeting the criteria of the other two, given that the other 2 apply generally to low income households. Covariance and correlation play a role, you seem to suggest these are all different rabbit holes. But alas they are probably not. The other item here is that these are statistics of legal US residents and not all residents of the US. There, the numbers get more meaningful.

        As I read your note it seems you like contrived arguments. So contrive this one away and please don’t forget the straw men, Obama never does.

        As well, there is that nagging fact that the US Government has been kiting checks so to speak as a policy for a number of years, but can print money to make up for the shortfall. Something households have not been able to do, but states have such as California’s experiment last year with IOUs have done.

        As per the rabbit hole you think I climbed out of. Please if I was in a rabbit hole I would have been smart enough not to save anything over the past ten years and live off of debt like so many Americans have done and then get the promise of no penalty for not covering my mortgage and enjoy the fruits of wide spread plans of mortgage forgiveness. Or perhaps not had my income destroyed by a Fed hell bent on destroying savings to try to recreate the debt boom all over again. Please rabbit hole, I think Perch would be more appropriate. As for education which you seemed to imply was low….I have a graduate degree in applied finance, a history and english degree, built 3 businesses sold 2 and closed the third by choice not through bankruptcy. Over my lifetime have employed 38 people fulltime and paid taxes every year with the exception of 2 since my 21st birthday. Total compensation for the government has averaged a little over 49% with no money down and no risk taken. Average return on capital for me slightly less than 20% over my lifetime pre-tax….post tax slightly less than 12% compounded. So when people ask me to consider paying more as this Congress has done through its taxes and subsidies to favored groups. I had one answer, thanks but no thanks…I’ll take my marbles elsewhere, where capital is treated better and those who create can get rewarded for the risks they take. And before you condemn my Capitalist leanings consider this, there is no free lunch! You cannot force me to work and you cannot force me to spend.

  • jeff

    I think Fred may be right. It appears to me that Obama may also be right. The average American cannot balance there own checkbook nor can they handle their own healthcare….They can’t even get themselves to work on time. They probably cant even help their fifth grader with their homework… So the right answer I believe is not to help them learn how to do it but punish those who do and ensure that all are bound to the government for their own succor. It is the only answer. Many people dont take responsibility for their own actions so it is the job of the few elites in society who know better than we on how to live our lives and can protect us from our own misguided priorities. Here here…to Fred and Obama. They know best for the rest of us.

    • Forest

      “The average American cannot ” “balance there (sic) own checkbook” “handle their own healthcare” “get themselves to work on time” “help their fifth grader with their homework”

      Before you discount my opinion, I actually do all of those things successfully, so CLEARLY I am in that ‘Minority Elite’ and am an ‘above average American’ by your definitions.

      That being said, this has to be possibly one of the most incorrect, jaded, and hysterical comments on the ‘average american’ I have seen. It has no factual basis and instead tries to pass opinion as some sort of judgmental truth.

      I have no idea where you work, who you know, or what you read, but you need to get out of your rabbit hole.

      • longshotlouie

        jeff, somehow MattForest missed the humor in your post.

        • Forest

          Funny Louie,I thought you would be agreeing with him? Or was this comment by you laced with ‘humor’ as well? Both bemoan the destruction and seek to explain the demise of the ‘average american’:

          Louie rants just yesterday:
          “You’re a puss that needs mommy gov to make sure that you have a safety net under your pansy ass every moment of every day. Pure and simple, you represent the feminization of the American male. Scared of competition and living in complete fear of the world around you.”

          Man, you must get awfully confused at times. It does happen though when trying to live in the rabbit hole that is Ron Paul’s world, so I understand.


          • longshotlouie

            Ron Paul’s world? When did you become so infatuated with Ron Paul?

            Still unable to grasp jeff’s point, or just ignoring it?

          • Forest

            Louie: “Still unable to grasp jeff’s point, or just ignoring it?”

            Not big on the details are you… If you actually care to do more than listen to yourself drivel, see my response to Jeff that I left about two hours ago… I’ll give you a hint, it’s the one to Jeff that starts with “So, the point is”…

          • longshotlouie

            Was that a request for me to jump through a hoop?

            Non-responsive minutia does not qualify as details.

          • longshotlouie

            Again, when did you become so infatuated with Ron Paul?

            C P A C, [ring]

        • jeff

          Louie, Louie!!! I like Ron Paul because he understands the simple fact that most Americans want the government out of their own lives as well as their neighbors. What was that old phrase children should be seen but not heard. Perhaps the appropriate answer is Government should be an acknowledged evil but kept in a very small box.

    • jeff

      It was tongue in cheek… chill out. What I am disturbed by is the fact that much of the government actions over the past several years clearly address this problem. You, the American people are unable to read contracts you sign. Therefore, we will institute the lowest common denominator theory to our tort system and legal framework. Voila! The financial reform act! You are unable to make smart choices about the food and drink you put in your bodies! Voila! A tax to discourage it! You are too stupid to …… pick your subject. The government thinks you are too stupid to do much or that the 10% of the population that actually does demonstrate this behavior must therefore apply those rules to all. Rather than educate the 10% to behave more responsibly.