Ron Paul told a town hall audience in New Hampshire that uninsured Americans should rely on charity for health care and said the modern health system “is overly corporate and not much better than a socialized healthcare system.” The Concord Monitor reports:
He said reducing the size and cost of government would give more people the financial ability to make charitable donations and support the sick and indigent in their communities. “There was a time in the ’50s and early ’60s, people were not lying out in the street not getting medical care. Charities and hospitals stepped up,” he said, pointing to President Lyndon Johnson’s introduction of Medicare and Medicaid as ruining health care and replacing it with “corporate medicine.” “It’s not socialized medicine, but it’s not a whole lot better,” he said.
One man said his daughter is sick and will soon not be covered on her parents’ health insurance. “Will she have to wait in line at a charity hospital?” he asked Paul.
“She’ll have to wait in line under Obamacare, that’s for sure,” he answered, before drifting into a long, twisting answer about how a completely free market-based health care solution would improve the system.
The charity care line is gaining popularity as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act in the GOP presidential primary, as both Newt Gingrich and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann have suggested that charities should be responsible for providing health care to those who can’t afford it. While the organizations served as important safety net in the era before Medicare and Medicaid, they would have little capacity to address the needs of today’s 50 million uninsured — and would certainly do very little to reduce health care costs or minimize the cost-shifts that result from uncompensated care.
In fact, for any politician to argue that government should outsource the task of keeping Americans healthy to charities is like saying that people should be punished with death if they are unfortunate enough to be poor or are priced out of insurance due to a pre-existing health condition.