Government should largely exit health care, says presidential hopeful Ron Paul

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 28, 2011

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Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, MD (R, Texas), said the federal government has an obligation to provide health care to veterans, but otherwise it should not be involved in health care.

"Delivering health care to the whole society is a mistake," Dr. Paul said. "The market is the only compassionate system."

On Nov. 16, the obstetrician-gynecologist became the latest GOP presidential candidate to speak in front of the Congressional Health Care Caucus, which was organized by Rep. Michael Burgess, MD, (R, Texas).

Dr. Paul would allow people to opt out of paying taxes that support Medicare. Americans would be more engaged in their health spending -- and spending would decrease -- if citizens could place $3,000 to $4,000 a year in medical savings accounts and pay physicians in cash, Dr. Paul said. He doesn't want to cut health benefits for the elderly or the poor, but said the existing funding for such programs is not sustainable.

Dr. Paul said he is not concerned about private businesses gaining monopolies in health care. "Nobody has ever been able to prove that a free-market monopoly exists," he said. But he is concerned about businesses' ability to manipulate government to pad their profits. A good example is the Medicare prescription drug benefit, which generously reimbursed pharmaceutical companies, he said, showing that big health care businesses and government are in bed together. "We're on the road to a corporate state."

Dr. Paul said the Food and Drug Administration unnecessarily restricts access to quality drugs and does much more harm than good. Americans should have more access to natural remedies, he said.

"Define one instance where the FDA was helpful," he asked the audience.

A video of Dr. Paul's speech is available online (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

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