In the Republican “Tea Party Debate” earlier this week, when Ron Paul was asked whether or not a healthy, uninsured 30-year-old man should be left to die if an unexpected tragedy put him into a coma, he unsurprisingly replied that someone who meets such an unfortunate end without insurance should not get a safety net and therefore, as a consequence of their poor choice and lack of foresight, simply be allowed to die. (A sentiment enthusiastically cheered by the audience of doughy white people, many of whom will be imposing on the healthcare system before too long for one reason or another.)
Well, guess what? It turns out that Kent Snyder, the campaign manager of Ron Paul’s last unsuccessful run for President, died in 2008 from viral pneumonia at the age of 49, leaving an unpaid hospital bill in excess of $400,000… He may have had insurance coverage, but clearly it wasn’t anywhere nearly sufficient to cover the costs of his treatment.
So, how could this fierce libertarian zealot have allowed himself to be so inadequately insured for such an unexpected calamity?
In his response to Wolf Blitzer’s question – as he frequently does when confronted with such real or hypothetical moral dilemmas – Ron Paul wistfully described the good old days when churches, friends and neighbours would simply come to such a person’s aid. And it seems such individuals did in this case – well, sort of… and after the fact.
A fund was created posthumously to raise money to pay off Snyder’s $400,000 hospital tab, but it seems that it quickly ran out of steam at the about the $28,000 mark. Bottom line therefore is that the society of “welfarism” and “socialism” that Ron Paul so contemptuously abhors, most likely ended up absorbing the remaining $372,000 of his former campaign manager’s unpaid medical bills because neither he nor his church, friends or neighbours could fully account for them. Go figure.
This seems to be the problem with the libertarian doctrine… their theoretical notions individual “freedom” often don’t translate well into real world experience. In other words, when the rubber meets the road, it turns out they’re woefully impractical.
Update: Seems former Florida congressman Alan Grayson wasn’t too far off the mark after all with his controversial description of the Republican approach to healthcare as being: 1) Don’t get sick; 2) And if you do get sick… DIE QUICKLY.
Comparing Tea Partiers to the soulless robots in Bladerunner owing to their absence of empathy is classic Grayson.