(MANCHESTER, N.H.) — Ron Paul’s views on health care came under fire Monday night at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, where his position on eliminating Medicaid was met with open hostility from the audience.
Paul has called for the eventual elimination of Medicare and Medicaid and has suggested that charity hospitals should pick up the slack for the uninsured. That view got one woman in Manchester up in arms.
“Thirty three percent of the children in the U.S. are on Medicaid and another 10 percent are uninsured,” the woman said. “You have offered charity by doctors as a solution to this. Do you really think that 43 percent of America’s children will be taken care of by charity?”
Paul said that his current budget preserves the program, but it would eventually be phased out because of the unsustainable cost. Paul added that when he worked in a charity hospital in the 1960s nobody was turned away.
“I really want to promote these medical savings accounts so people can put their money aside and get it off their taxes, and buy their own insurance and pay cash to their doctors,” Paul said.
As the congressman was finishing his answer, another woman in the audience shouted, “What about the 43 percent?”
Paul, seemingly taken off guard, shot back, “You mean when? Right now?”
“I described this transition,” Paul responded over the voice of the woman.
“Why not look at how the country looked before 1965. Maybe it wouldn’t cost so much,” Paul said.
Paul’s voice then picked up as he stared at the woman and added, “It sounds like you’re cold hearted, you don’t care about people.”
“It’s all going down the tubes if we don’t do something about it too soon,” Paul said.
This isn’t the first time Paul was questioned about his views on health care. At a recent GOP debate, Paul was asked a hypothetical question about whether an uninsured 30-year-old working man in coma should be treated.
“What he should do is whatever he wants to do and assume responsibility for himself,” Paul responded, adding, “That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risk. This whole idea that you have to compare and take care of everybody … ”
The audience erupted into cheers, cutting off the congressman’s sentence.
After a pause, Paul was asked, “Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?” to which a small number of audience members shouted, “Yeah!”
Paul, a doctor trained in obstetrics and gynecology, said that when he got out of medical school in the 1960s “the churches took care of them.”
“We never turned anybody away from the hospital,” he said. “We’ve given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves or assume responsibility for ourselves. Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it. That’s the reason the cost is so high.”
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Tal Kopan and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Shelbie Harris, Idaho State Journal