U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul (R-KY) has made opposition to the “heavy hand” of the federal government one of the hallmarks of his political ideology. Yet, despite his anti-government rhetoric, the Kentucky opthamologist has gone on record opposing cuts to the Medicare program, saying that “physicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living.” He has received at least $130,000 from Medicaid patients since 2005.
Now, Paul has a new justification for his inconsistency. His campaign manager Jesse Benton told the Associated Press yesterday that the reason Paul opposes cuts in the government-run Medicare and Medicaid programs is because shunning people who are on those programs would “penalize his older patients or his poor patients”:
Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton defended Paul’s acceptance of Medicare and Medicaid payments, saying that to shun the two health care programs would “penalize his older patients or his poor patients.” Paul said he sees patients who rely on the government programs, private insurance or who pay for their own care.
“I don’t discriminate in my practice, and though I’d prefer to have less government intervention in … medicine, I put my patients first in this matter,” the Republican said. “My medical practice has never been about any ideology or running for office.”
One of the major features of the new health care law is of course an expansion of Medicaid, extending coverage to nearly 16 million more Americans by 2019. Nonetheless, repealing Congress’s recently passed health care legislation is one of the major features of Paul’s campaign. It would be interesting to see how the non-board-certified opthamologist thinks that taking away health care from the millions of Americans does not amount to penalizing poor patients.