Audience at tea party debate cheers leaving uninsured to die
By Rachel Rose Hartman | The Ticket – Tue, Sep 13, 2011
If you're uninsured and on the brink of death, that's apparently a laughing matter to some audience members at last night's tea party Republican presidential debate.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a doctor, was asked a hypothetical question by CNN host Wolf Blitzer about how society should respond if a healthy 30-year-old man who decided against buying health insurance suddenly goes into a coma and requires intensive care for six months. Paul--a fierce limited-government advocate-- said it shouldn't be the government's responsibility. "That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks," Paul said and was drowned out by audience applause as he added, "this whole idea that you have to prepare to take care of everybody …"
"Are you saying that society should just let him die?" Blitzer pressed Paul. And that's when the audience got involved.
Several loud cheers of "yeah!" followed by laughter could be heard in the Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds in response to Blitzer's question.
You can watch the exchange below:
I saw this link up on Brad Boydston's wall. His comment: "Echoes of Ayn Rand."
Paul disagreed with the audience on that front. "No," he responded, noting he practiced medicine before Medicaid when churches took care of medical costs--a comment that drew wide audience applause. "We never turned anybody away from the hospital."
Paul voiced support for legalizing alternative health care and argued that the reason medical costs have skyrocketed is that individuals have stopped taking personal responsibility for their health care.
Though Paul spoke to the larger issues of health care and government-backed health insurance--both pivotal in the 2012 election--the audience's reaction has overshadowed the substance of the exchange between the candidates. And the day after the event, Texas Gov. Rick Perry offered his own criticism of the audience response.
"I was a bit taken aback by that myself," Perry told NBC News and the Miami Herald of the audience reaction after appearing at a breakfast fundraiser in Tampa Tuesday morning.
"We're the party of life. We ought to be coming up with ways to save lives."
The campaigns for Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann did not immediately respond to The Ticket's request for comment.
Conservative Andrew Sullivan writing for The Daily Beast's The Dish Tuesday noted that the United States obligates society to save someone in an emergency room. "America, moreover, has a law on the books that makes it a crime not to treat and try to save a human being who walks into an emergency room. So we have already made that collective decision and if the GOP wants to revisit it, they can," Sullivan wrote.
Sullivan also decried the audience reaction, writing: "Maybe a tragedy like the death of a feckless twentysomething is inevitable if we are to restrain healthcare costs. But it is still a tragedy. It is not something a decent person cheers."
Then I shared the link, and wrote, "Brad's right. I fear we'll be seeing more and more of this sort of thing in the near future. That's when it got interesting. "A," a teapartier, and I entered into a dialogue:
A: "I watched the video, and I didn't see what others are seeing, I guess. I saw the crowd cheer Paul's statement about freedom being about the right to make choices and live with the consequences. Then, when pressed further about letting the man die, I heard a handful of idiots shouting to, essentially, let him die. How do 4 people represent the tea party? I'm a bit confused.
Me: Listen to the rest of it. Did you hear Paul chastising those idiots? Or disagreeing with them? No. He punted to "let the churches take care of them," to loud applause. How convenient to be able to dump the sick, weak and poor on
somebody else! That's the nasty underbelly of libertarianism. Leave me alone...if you need help, don't ask me...go ask somebody else! Shades of Luke 10:30-37. I refer you to Brad Boydston's message:
"I'm hoping that at least some of the people who supported tax-cuts and reduction in government services to the poor, saying that such things should be done through non-profits and churches, will step-up, and take some initiative to get the ball rolling. (Now that we're paying less in taxes than anytime since the 1980's we can most certainly can afford to be more generous.)
Some of the guys in our church are in desperate need of health services. But options are few in our area. We've been helping people with medicine, food, some other medical expenses, public transit passes, and job searches.
I've got a list of people who want to work. Some need training but some are ready to go as soon as a job opens up.
Checks can be sent to:
PO Box 1113
Laveen AZ 85339-1113"
Note: "Marginalized Ministry"
Please help me see what you and the people in the crowd are doing to give to those churches to provide for those without health insurance, jobs, etc. I'm ready for lots of heart-warming stories! : D
A: Beth, my main point the headline and accompanying heartache is misleading. They did not cheer the hypothetical death. There are arguments to be had regarding the policies promoted by Dr. Paul (I'm no fan), but claiming the tea party crowd "cheers leaving uninsured to die" is horribly (purposefully?) misleading. As for your challenge. It's a valid one, and I'll admit that I've been caught up with living life to the point that I've deferred a lot of that burden to others in our church. Heck, I may find myself relying on them soon if I can't find employment.
Me: Perhaps that headline is like the image of the old woman/young woman where you see what you are "set" to see. As for the view that it was only 4 people, and that the rest of the crowd did not share that their sentiment, I am reminded of how how Glenn Beck used to quote Martin Niemoller,
"First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.A: What should they have done in that setting? Beat the 4 people to their senses? ;) Seriously, every ideological group I know how has fringe idiots who will do such stupid things as chear the hypothetical death of a purposefully uninsured
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me."
man or cheer the very real hospitalization of a vice president while hoping for his death. The fact that one group got lucky enough to be televised doesn't make them more reprsentative than the other group
Me: No, they shouldn't have beaten these four people senseless, but I'm amazed that I didn't hear any jeers. After all, we are talking about people here who hold a strong belief in PERSONAL responsibility; who want to see less government and
social interference and more INDIVIDUAL initiative. The lack of any audible or visible disagreement from the audience makes me think they are either 1) inconsistent in their belief or 2) in agreement with the fringe idiots.