Monday, October 17, 2011

Why Everyone Needs Health Insurance

From Gawker, in regard to the CNN-run debate last month:
Ron Paul, a medical doctor, faced a pointed line of questioning from Wolf Blitzer regarding the case of an uninsured young man who suddenly found himself in dire need of intensive health care.

Should the state pay his bills? Paul responded, "That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody—"

He never quite finished that point, letting the audience's loud applause finish it for him. So Blitzer pressed on, asking if he meant that "society should just let him die," which earned a chilling round of approving hoots from the crowd. Paul would not concede that much outright, instead responding with a personal anecdote, the upshot being that in such a case, it was up to churches to care for the dying young man. So basically, yeah. He'd let him die.

As it turns out, Paul was not speaking purely in hypotheticals. Back in 2008, Kent Snyder — Paul's former campaign chairman — died of complications from pneumonia. Like the man in Blitzer's example, the 49-year-old Snyder (pictured) was relatively young and seemingly healthy when the illness struck. He was also uninsured. When he died on June 26, 2008, two weeks after Paul withdrew his first bid for the presidency, his hospital costs amounted to $400,000. The bill was handed to Snyder's surviving mother, who was incapable of paying.
According to Snyder's sister, he couldn't get insurance because a pre-existing condition made the premiums too expensive. After Snyder's death, Paul posted a message on his web site noting that Snyder "sacrificed much for the cause of liberty." No comment on how, when he was really sick, he went to the hospital and was treated at other people's expense, or about what sort of care he might have gotten if he had been insured and been able to go to a doctor, or any of the other issues that make his case a perfect example of the limits of liberty and the need for a caring society to find a means of caring for everyone.

No comments: