Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remember the Republican hissy fit when Alan Grayson said their health care plan was "Let them die!"?

Alan Grayson famously said on the floor of Congress that the Republican health care plan was to simply let the sick die. The quote is:
The Republican health care plan for America: “don’t get sick.” If you have insurance don’t get sick, if you don’t have insurance, don’t get sick; if you’re sick, don’t get sick. Just don’t get sick. … If you do get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: “die quickly.”

The Republican response was "He can't say that about us!!"

Now we have both Ron Paul and the studio audience of conservative Republicans confirming Grayson's statement.

Here is a transcript of the question and of Ron Paul's full response.
An interesting exchange in tonight's CNN Republican debate was prompted by the question to Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., about who should pay for medical care of the uninsured.

"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?" asked host Wolf Blitzer.

Paul, a medical doctor, first responded by saying American society is primed to believe government would pay for it.

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

When pressed on the question, Paul responded: "That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks," to applause from many tea party backers in the audience.

"But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?" asked Blitzer, to which several voices in the audience cried out, "Yes!"

"No. I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid, in the early 1960s, when I got out of medical school. I practiced at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio, and the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals," said Paul to additional applause. "And we've given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves. Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it. This whole idea, that's the reason the cost is so high. The cost is so high because they dump it on the government, it becomes a bureaucracy," he added.

This small exchange is the key to a major debate going on with regards to health care, both President Obama's health reform law and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's own health reform law that is under attack by his Republican opponents.
Congressman Paul is wrong to assume that "they" simply decided to dump indigent health care on the government and as a result the cost of health care shot up. The fact is that the cost of health care shot up so high that individual hospitals could not continue to bear the burden without help. The result of the increase in health care cost was that the government had to step in and save the hospitals from bankruptcy. Who should fund the costs of someone in a coma kept alive for years? Who should provide the funds to give someone chemotherapy for follicular lymphoma? That costs $50,000 to $60,000 per month for six or seven months, and if successful can provide a person with many years of productive life after that.

No hospital can handle those costs today without assistance, and employers cannot continue to bear the costs of the employer insurance and remain competitive in the international market against foreign employers who have a workforce ensured by their governments. One or two very expensive cases can bankrupt a hospital and shut it down, and there are no health insurers with a large enough risk pool to handle such cases on their own. If hospitals are to be reliably funded and not risk being closed down by one or a few very expensive cases they are going to have to go to the government for financial assistance. There is no other organization large enough to bear the costs of some modern health care treatments.

Apparently Dr. Paul's medical training did not include understanding of insurance principles.

Congressman Paul and the teabaggers live in the fantasy that America is still in the 1950's. Everything that has changed since then has been a mistake and should be erased. But in those days sulfa drugs were a brand new miracle, the only treatment for depression was psychotherapy or electroconvulsive shock treatment and a diagnosis of cancer was a death sentence. Yeah, I guess that hospitals could deal with telling most of their patients there was no cure for their illness and sending them home to die at low cost to the hospital. Medicine has changed. Apparently, though, Dr. Ron Paul's medicine has not changed.

No wonder Congressman Dr. Paul had to change careers and get into politics. There are no malpractice lawsuits for incompetence against Congressmen.

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