Ron Paul on the Health Care Bill

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.

11 Responses to “Ron Paul on the Health Care Bill”

  1. stuartbramhall Says:

    I am curious on Congressman Paul’s view on extending the voting franchise to people between 16 and 18. I am in contact with numerous 16 and 17 year olds who work and pay taxes and feel being deprived of the right to vote is taxation without representation. Where would Congressman Paul stand on this debate?

  2. freedomandliberty Says:

    Let me provide a copy of a letter that I’ve sent to numerous politicians concerning the new health care bill. The letter focuses in on the individual mandate contained within the bill and is part of the ongoing debate concerning this legislation. I feel this topic requires further discussion and debate, and I’m directing the letter to a broad spectrum of people. Therefore because of their place in society, I’ve chosen to send copies to various people, in hopes that they might assist in bringing meaningful and effective discourse to this topic both amongst the politicians and the American people. As you will note, I have included a list of those people and organizations to which I have sent copies of this letter. Hopefully the copying and pasting doesn’t disturb the format too much.
    ———————————————
    When, in the course of this nations history, the rights of its citizens have been unduly challenged or threatened by acts of injustice, violence or false assertions, there have been men and women who have stood against these exploits to ensure the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is with these great men and women that I ask you to stand up to be counted by working to remove the individual mandate contained within The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). It has been recently debated if the individual mandate is allowed by the Constitution, and many groups have either filed or threatened to bring lawsuits against this bill, citing amongst other things the Ninth and Tenth Amendments and Article One, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. It should be self-evident to all but the most stubborn that the Individual Responsibility requirement, and its corresponding use of penalty payments in the form of taxation, is not only unconstitutional, but also unethical and contrary to the fundamental values on which this nation was established. Allow me to explore these statements in further detail.

    Assertion 1: The individual mandate is unconstitutional according to Article One, Section 8 of the United States Constitution.

    This section of the constitution states that “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;……To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes”. The individual mandate attempts to coerce the citizens of this nations into buying a product under the false guise of commerce, with the threat of congress’ power to tax as a punishment for no other crime than to be alive. My health, my life, and my soul are not commodities to be bought, sold, traded or owned, by people, states or the United States Government. The individual mandate amounts to nothing more than a tax on being alive, whether by direct taxation as a punishment or by way of forced purchases. This differs distinctly from other required purchases existent in this nation, because it removes the freedom of choice, unless of course you can establish an exemption based on either membership in a specific religious sect or division, membership in a health care sharing ministry, being an Indian, or financial hardship. An often cited example of a required purchase imposed on U.S. citizens, is that of auto insurance, but in this case, if an individual does not want to have auto insurance, then that person can simply choose not to drive. There is no freedom of choice afforded to someone under the individual mandate, unless of course, one chooses to join a group that they may not want to be part of, find a lower paying job, or elect to die. Are these truly the options one would expect to find in a democratic society?
    Thomas Jefferson is purported to have said “We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds…[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers… And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]… till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery… And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.” Should we allow our government to place a charge on life itself? An individual mandate makes our health, our lives, and our very souls commodities to be owned, traded and taxed by the United States government and that by many people is enough to describe slavery. Could it be possible that the individual mandate also fails the Thirteenth Amendment? One thing is certain, the mandate cannot be included in Congress’ ability to regulate commerce because it pertains not to the commerce of insurance but to the health and life of an individual which are not constituents of commerce in any way.

    Assertion 2: The individual mandate is unethical and contrary to the fundamental values on which this nation was established.

    In one of the most well known of all historical documents of the United States of America exists a summary of the fundamental values on which this nation was founded. Stated within the Declaration of Independence is the following, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. It is here within the words, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that we find cause to challenge the individual mandate. Just as the mandate fails Article One, Section 8 of the Constitution, it also fails the Declaration of Independence because it is a tax on our ‘unalienable right’ of life. Masquerading as a regulation of business, the mandate places a fee on life itself.
    Further failing the Declaration of Independence, the mandate slams a knife into the heart of liberty. The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers up these definitions of Liberty: the quality or state of being free; the power to do as one pleases; freedom from physical restraint; freedom from arbitrary or despotic control; the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges; the power of choice. Two very important concepts should stand out above all else, freedom and choice. By attacking our ability to choose, the mandate attacks our liberty, and as such our freedom as well. As Friedrich Nietzsche stated, “Then what is freedom? It is the will to be responsible to ourselves.” In the end, the ultimate price and cost of freedom, is personal responsibility. We must choose our own path. We must make our own choices and we must take responsibility for ourselves and not rely on the government to become a substitute parent, ordering us to do what it thinks is best for us and punishing those who would choose differently. In The History of Freedom in Antiquity, Lord Acton states “By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes is his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion” and then in “Nationality” in Home and Foreign Review proceeds to say “Liberty alone demands, for its realization, the limitation of the public authority, for liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition”. Lord Acton is also alleged to have said “Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being.”
    The ideas and concepts surrounding freedom and liberty have been constant and consistent throughout the ages, dating back even to statements credited to Aristotle such as “The basis of a democratic state is liberty”. When one sees quotes such as “Freedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men”, believed to have been stated by Mortimer Adler, then it is easy to recognize that forced payment as the cost of living is neither ethical or part of liberty and freedom. We should caution ourselves against such government actions and heed the warnings of John Philpot Curran in Right of Election for Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1790, when he stated “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt”. Similar warnings are alleged to have been made by Thomas Jefferson in the statement “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground” and in Notes on the State of Virginia, with the declaration “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.” Even Benjamin Franklin is said to have declared “No man’s life, liberty or fortune is safe while our legislature is in session”.
    Life without liberty and freedom is not life at all, but servitude, and we should not delude ourselves into thinking that we can trade liberty for an empty sense of security without paying the consequences. As Benjamin Franklin avowed in the Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”. The people of this nation need to remain ever vigilant in the protection of their freedom and liberties, and hold their government accountable when those are endangered. In doing so, we should keep in mind what Henry Steele Commager advised when he stated, “ Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.” Let us also not forget Eleanor Roosevelt’s query, “Will people ever be wise enough to refuse to follow bad leaders or to take away the freedom of other people?”
    History has shown that we should never assume what has happened to others could never possibly happen to us because in some way we believe that we are different. We are only different if we take an active role in preventing the errors of the past and not sitting idly by hoping that history will not repeat. History has demonstrated that most things do not change suddenly and extensively overnight. The saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, nor did it’s demise occur in a day. Change, whether it be good or bad, tends to happen in steps and to argue that the mandate in H.R. 3590 is a harmless insurance tool is not only short sighted and foolish, but a dangerous unprecedented step in opening the way for more invasive and restraining acts of government. Knowing what is at stake, a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. comes to mind, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” The individual mandate must be removed. Perhaps if Patrick Henry were alive today, he would rework his famous “Give me Liberty or Give me death” quote to reflect the growing trend of the twenty first century by stating, “Take away my Liberty, I care not about death, Uncle Sam has adopted me and determines my every breath”

    Copies of this letter have also been sent to:

    Orrin Hatch(R-UT) Kay Bailey Hutchinson(R-TX) Richard Lugar(R-IN)
    John Ensign(R-NV) Jim DeMint(R-SC) Buddy Caldwell
    Bobby Jindal Tim Pawlenty Max Baucus(D-MT)
    Dianne Feinstein(D-CA) Patrick Leahy(D-VT) Thad Cochran(R-MS)
    Charles E. Schumer(D-NY) George LeMieux(R-FL) John Kerry(D-MA)
    Joseph Lieberman(ID-CT) Arnold Schwarzenegger Rush Limbaugh
    Mike Malloy Bill O’Reilly New York Times
    Wall Street Journal Tea Party Cooperative

    Thank you for taking the time to honor freedom and liberty,

  3. Hi Says:

    Spectaculur!

  4. SLibertarian Says:

    Stuartbramhall - I would say that since Ron Paul favors the Fair Tax, then those 15 and 16 yr olds would not have to pay any taxes, and would therefore not need to worry about taxation without representation. Their parents would be the ones who -have- to pay any taxes, since their parents are the ones responsible for their needs.

    Voting age is restricted to adults, because extending to children would be disastrous to democracy.. Children usually lack the wisdom that comes with experience. Wisdom is necessary to make good choices when voting.

    Therefore it is wise to restrict a nation’s eligible voters to those with sufficient wisdom to make good choices.

  5. ajsqueen Says:

    I would like to know Dr. Paul’s opinion on Obama care and how it fails to reduce health care costs. As a licensed medical provider, I feel that the new health care policy was compiled completely void of practicing medical professionals. Had they asked us, we could have given them many ways to save billions without changing the entire system.

    If you look at when the most profound increase in medical costs took place, it was after the enactment of the federal EMTALA laws. These policies are the “no dumping” laws that protect citizens from getting shifted away from the closest health care centers because of lack of insurance. I agree with this policy, however, the law also states that every patient that walks through the door of the emergency room is entitled to care. Patients are entitled to a minimum of a “screen” but the screen must still be done by a licensed medical provider, not a triage nurse or a different type of provider. They essentially must still be seen by the doctor no matter what.

    The average cost of a primary care clinic visit is $85-100 while the average emergency room visit is well over $1,000. Over 75% of emergency room visits are non-emergent and waste BILLIONS of dollars of tax payer and insurance dollars. People come to the emergency room in all hours of the night for frivolous issues that could easily be addressed less expensively in a clinic, but since the enactment of EMTALA law, the emergency room providers must still evaluate the patient. Several states have attempted to limit state-funded aid recipients with specific non-emergent diagnoses from being seen in the ER (unless the patient wants to pay out-of-pocket), only to be stifled by the federal government (Arizona is an example of this). THIS is what has run up the bill. Frequent health “utilizers” who are in the ER for non-emergent reasons who have copay or stake in payment. Staffing the emergency rooms to provide for this care, along with facility fees have driven up costs exponentially.

    Give hospitals an avenue for redirecting these non-emergent patients without penalty and state/federal agencies will save BILLIONS of dollars. I believe everyone has the right to health care no matter what the cost and no matter what their insurance/financial status, however, there MUST be some limitations to prevent frivolous usage. Why has this never been addressed?

  6. ajsqueen Says:

    Correction: Frequent utilizers in the ER with NO copay or stake in payment…

  7. theflyingkiwi Says:

    Anyone who pays taxes, even if they are 16, should be able to vote. This notion that a 17 year old who pays taxes is not mature enough to vote is simply ridiculous. College students are ridiculously irresponsible, yet can still vote. I am 16, and I would be a responsible voter.

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    Very nice post and right to the point. I am not sure if this is actually the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to get some professional writers? Thank you :)

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