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Ron Paul on Health Care

Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President


Newt Gingrich's healthcare stances compared to Paul's

OnTheIssues' paperback book explores how Ron Paul's healthcare stances differ from Newt Gingrich's, and where they are similar. We cite details from Dr. Paul's books and speeches, and Newt's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Gingrich vs. Paul on Domestic Issues

Source: Paperback: Gingrich vs. Paul On The Issues , Jan 1, 2012

Government should not protect you from yourself

Q: Should the government do anything about unhealthy habits in young people?

PAUL: No, essentially not, but they have to be a referee. If people are doing things that hurt other people, yes. But if you embark on instituting a society where government protects you from yourself, you're in big trouble, and that's what they're doing.

Q: What about mandates for adults?

PAUL: You talk about ObamaCare using force, but that's all government is, is force. I mean, do you have a choice about paying Medicare taxes? So there's not a whole of different: you're forced to buy insurance. That's one step further. But you have to stop with force. Once government uses force to mold behavior or mold the economy, they've overstepped the bounds and they've violated the whole concept of our revolution and our Constitution.

Source: Yahoo's "Your Voice Your Vote" debate in Iowa , Dec 10, 2011

Markets instead of lobbyists writing drug laws

Q: You say you'd leave regulation to the market. Would you then put it on the drug companies to say, "No, we're bringing this to market, trust us, it's a fantastic drug"?

A: Theoretically, it could be privatized, but who ends up doing the regulations on the drugs? They do as much harm as good. They don't take good care of us. Who gets--who gets to write the regulations? The bureaucrats write the regulations, but who writes the laws? The lobbyists have control, so lobbyists from the drug industry has control of writing the regulations, so you turn it over to the bureaucracy. But you would have private institutions that could become credible. And, I mean, do we need the federal government to tell us whether we buy a safe car? I say the consumers of America are smart enough to decide what kind of car they can buy and whether it's safe or not, and they don't need the federal government hounding them and putting so much regulations on that our car industry has gone overseas.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Vaccinating 12-year-olds against HPV is bad medicine

Q: [to Paul]: Your campaign put out a statement accusing Gov. Perry of trying to forcibly vaccinate 12-year-old girls against sexually transmitted diseases?

PAUL: Just take the HPV [human papiloma virus]. Forcing 12-year-old girls to take an inoculatio to prevent this sexually transmitted disease, this is not good medicine, I do not believe. I think it's social misfit. It's not good social policy. And therefore, I think this is very bad to do this. But one of the worst parts about that was the way it was done. The governorship in Texas traditionally is supposed to be a weak governorship. I didn't even know they could pass laws by writing an executive order. He did it with an executive order, passed it. The state was furious, and the legislature, overwhelmingly, 90%, repealed this. But I think it's the way it was passed, which was so bad. I think it's a bad piece of legislation. But I don't like the idea of executive orders. I, as president, will not use the executive order to write laws.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

States CAN mandate insurance, but it's a bad idea

Q: [to Romney]: Where do you find mandating authority for health insurance [as RomneyCare does] in the Constitution?

ROMNEY: Are you familiar with the Massachusetts constitution? I am. It allows states [to mandate insurance].

Q: [to Paul]: Does a state have a constitutional right to make someone buy insurance just because they're a resident?

PAUL: No, the federal government can't go in and prohibit the states from doing bad things. And I would consider that a very bad thing, but you don't send in a federal police force because they're doing it. So they do have that leeway under our Constitution. But we have drifted so far from any of our care being delivered by the marketplace. And once you get the government involved--both parties have done it --they've developed a medical care delivery system based on corporatism. The corporations are doing quite well, whether it's Obama or under the Republicans. The drug companies do well. The insurance companies do well. The patient and the doctors suffer.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Private contract instead of tort reform

Paul opposes federal tort reform for the same reason he opposes most federal solutions--he believes the federal approach "damages the Constitution by denying states the right to decide their own local medical standards and legal rules." To that end, he has voted against many tort reform measures:Instead of traditional federal tort reform, he proposes "private contractual agreements between physicians and patients" that "enables patients to protect themselves with 'negative outcomes' insurance purchased before medical treatment." In theory, Paul's solution may help alleviate the situation, but it is politically untenable.
Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #8: Ron Paul , Jun 21, 2011

Let people opt out of Medicare

Q: How do you propose to keep Medicare financially solvent?

PAUL: Well, under these conditions, it's not solvent and won't be solvent. If you're an average couple, you would have put $140,000 into it. And in your lifetime, you will take out more than three times that much. So a little bit of arithmetic tells you it's not solvent, so we're up against the wall on that, so it can't be made solvent. It has to change. We have to have more competition in medicine. And I would think that if we don't want to cut any of the medical benefits for children or the elderly, because we have drawn so many in and got them so dependent on the government, if you want to work a transition, you have to cut a lot of money. Some revamping has to occur. What we need is competition. We need to get a chance for the people to opt out of the system. Just--you talk about opting out of Obamacare? Why can't we opt out of the whole system and take care of ourselves?

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

Legalizing prostitution is about protecting liberty

Q: You say that the federal government should stay out of people's personal habits, including marijuana. You feel the same about prostitution and gay marriage. Why should social conservatives vote for you?

A: They will, if they see that my defense of liberty is the defense of their right to practice religion and say their prayers where they want. It's an issue of protecting liberty across the board. We don't have the First Amendment so we can talk about the weather. We have the First Amendment so we can say very controversial things. If you have the inconsistency, then you're really not defending liberty. You can't hurt other people, but yes, you have the right to do things that are very controversial. If not, then you'll have a government that tells us what we can eat and drink and whatever.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in South Carolina , May 5, 2011

ObamaCare is only as socialized as Bush's & Nixon's reforms

Obama has been accused of pushing for socialized medicine. This is not exactly true. Maybe in time it will become a total government program. But actually his reforms are very similar to reforms pushed by the Republicans over the decades. The Republican Party under Eisenhower established the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the 1950s. Nixon pushed through managed care ERISA laws in the early 1970s after a decade of Democrats implementing their Medicare and Medicaid programs with strong Republican support. The Reagan administration expanded medical transfer payments. Prescription drug programs were passed by the George Bush administration and a Republican Congress. And now it's the Democrats' turn once again. Republicans shout "socialized medicine" as they became the nominal opponents of Obama Care.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.196 , Apr 19, 2011

Insurers promote ObamaCare's giant expansion of government

The insurance and pharmaceutical industries are lending their clout to the push for nationalized health care. Despite the sound bites from the pro-ObamaCare politicians and their cheerleaders in the media about the evil insurance companies, the insurers are actually on Obama's side in promoting a giant expansion of the government's role in health care. And why not? A major plank of the health care plan is to force every American to have health insurance--in other words, to make every American a customer of the insurance industry. Yet, if one believes the media, it is the opponents of nationalized health care who are doing the bidding of the large insurance companies!
Source: Obamanomics, by Tim Carney; foreword by Ron Paul, p. xi , Nov 30, 2009

Individual mandate is back door to national health insurance

The proposal to force all Americans to obtain a government-approved health insurance policy represents as great a, if not a greater, threat to health freedom as the government-funded public option. This is because the so-called "individual mandate" is a back door to national health insurance. After all, if Congress requires individuals to purchase insurance, Congress must define what insurance policies satisfy the government mandate. Thus, Congress will decide what is and is not covered in the mandatory insurance policy.

Yet, as I write this, it appears unlikely that the final bill will create a system resembling the socialized medicine model of Canada or Great Britain. Instead, it appears likely that any health care "reform" plan that actually passes Congress will reject both the free market and socialism in favor of corporatism.

Source: Obamanomics, by Tim Carney; foreword by Ron Paul, p. xii , Nov 30, 2009

Replace Medicaid with volunteer pro-bono medical care

In the days before Medicare and Medicaid, the poor and elderly were admitted to hospitals at the same rate they are now, and received good care. Before those programs came into existence, every physician understood that he or she had a responsibility towards the less fortunate and free medical care was the norm. Hardly anyone is aware of this today, since it doesnít fit into the typical, by the script story of government rescuing us from a predatory private sector.
Source: The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul, p. 84 , Apr 1, 2008

Private medical savings accounts, not government meddling

The most obvious way to break this cycle is to get the government out of the business of meddling in health care, which was far more affordable and accessible before government got involved. Short of that, and more politically feasible in the immediate run, is to allow consumers and their doctors to pull themselves out of the system through medical savings accounts.
Source: The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul, p. 89 , Apr 1, 2008

Insurance companies & govít make healthcare unaffordable

Q: You say that insurance companies and government programs have made health care simply unaffordable. You objected so strongly to Medicaid that, as a doctor, Iím told, you simply treated patients on your own, at your own expense.

A: Well, weíve had managed care, now, for about 35 years. Itís not working, and nobodyís happy with it. The doctors arenít happy. The patients arenít happy. Nobody seems to be happy--except the corporations, the drug companies and the HMOs.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

Transfer funds from debt & empire-building to healthcare

We have a mess because a lot of people are very dependent on health care. But weíre going broke, with $500 billion going to debt every single year, and we have a foreign policy that is draining us. I say, take care of these poor people. Iím not against that. But save the money someplace. The only place available for us to save it is to change our attitude about running a world empire and bankrupting this country. We can take care of the poor people, save money and actually cut some of our deficit.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

Socialized medicine wonít work; nor managed care

You donít have to throw anybody out in the street, but long term you have move toward the marketplace. You cannot expect socialized medicine of the Hillary brand to work. And you canít expect the managed care system that we have today [to work, because it] promotes and rewards the corporations. Itís the drug companies & the HMOs & even the AMA that lobbies us for this managed care, and thatís why the prices are high. Itís only in medicine that technology has raised prices rather than lowering prices.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

Managed care is expensive and hasnít worked

Q: What does your health care plan contain to address racial disparities in access to care?

A: Weíve had managed care in this country since the early 1970s, and it hasnít worked well. Itís very, very expensive, and itís the fault that we changed our ERISA law and our tax laws that created this corporatism that runs medicine. Wall Street rakes off the profits. The patients are unhappy. The doctors are unhappy. And itís a monopoly now. Who lobbies us in Washington? The drug companies and the HMOs. They come. And now what is the cry for? Socialized medicine. Thatís not the answer. We need to get the government out of the way. Inflation hits the middle class and the poor the most. Those are the people who are losing it. We donít have enough competition. Thereís a doctor monopoly out there. We need alternative health care freely available to the people. They ought to be able to make their own choices and not controlled by the FDA preventing them to use some of the medications.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

Not governmentís role to protect people like Terri Schiavo

Q: My name is Bobby Schindler, and Iím with the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation. My beloved sister Terri Schiavo was starved & dehydrated to death, in the land of abundance. The world watched because she was disabled & unable to speak for herself. Would you support legislation that would protect the cognitively disabled & vulnerable people from having their food & water taken away?
Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Insurance reward for avoiding tobacco, alcohol, obesity

Q: Healthcare consumes up to 17% of our GNP. It appears that lifestyles that are based in moral principles would reduce healthcare expenditures. Would you support a private healthcare approach that rewards behavior that promotes moral lifestyles-- that is, avoiding alcohol and tobacco consumption, as well as obesity reduction, exercise and nutrition that promotes health?
Source: [Xref Huckabee] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007


Ron Paul on Voting+Sponsorships

Oppose mandated health insurance and universal coverage

Q: Nations with socialized medicine reduced the cost of their healthcare systems by restricting patientsí access that needed treatments and healthcare rationing. Will you protect the availability of needed medical care by opposing current efforts to subject Americans to government-mandated health insurance and universal coverage?
Source: [Xref Huckabee] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate , Sep 17, 2007

Voted NO on the Ryan Budget: Medicare choice, tax & spending cuts.

Proponent's Arguments for voting Yes:

[Sen. DeMint, R-SC]: The Democrats have Medicare on a course of bankruptcy. Republicans are trying to save Medicare & make sure there are options for seniors in the future. Medicare will not be there 5 or 10 years from now. Doctors will not see Medicare patients at the rate [Congress will] pay.

[Sen. Ayotte, R-NH]: We have 3 choices when it comes to addressing rising health care costs in Medicare. We can do nothing & watch the program go bankrupt in 2024. We can go forward with the President's proposal to ration care through an unelected board of 15 bureaucrats. Or we can show real leadership & strengthen the program to make it solvent for current beneficiaries, and allow future beneficiaries to make choices.

Opponent's Arguments for voting No:

[Sen. Conrad, D-ND]: In the House Republican budget plan, the first thing they do is cut $4 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the wealthiest among us, they give them an additional $1 trillion in tax reductions. To offset these massive new tax cuts, they have decided to shred the social safety net. They have decided to shred Medicare. They have decided to shred program after program so they can give more tax cuts to those who are the wealthiest among us.

[Sen. Merkley, D-TK]: The Republicans chose to end Medicare as we know it. The Republican plan reopens the doughnut hole. That is the hole into which seniors fall when, after they have some assistance with the first drugs they need, they get no assistance until they reach a catastrophic level. It is in that hole that seniors have had their finances devastated. We fixed it. Republicans want to unfix it and throw seniors back into the abyss. Then, instead of guaranteeing Medicare coverage for a fixed set of benefits for every senior--as Medicare does now--the Republican plan gives seniors a coupon and says: Good luck. Go buy your insurance. If the insurance goes up, too bad.

Reference: Ryan Budget Plan; Bill HCR34&SCR21 ; vote number 11-HV277 on Apr 15, 2011

Voted YES on repealing the "Prevention and Public Health" slush fund.

Congressional Summary:Amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to repeal provisions establishing and appropriating funds to the Prevention and Public Health Fund (a Fund to provide for expanded and sustained national investment in prevention and public health programs to improve health and help restrain the rate of growth in private and public sector health care costs). Rescinds any unobligated balanced appropriated to such Fund.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Pitts, R-PA]: Section 4002 of PPACA establishes a Prevention and Public Health Fund, which my bill, H.R. 1217, would repeal. The PPACA section authorizes the appropriation of and appropriates to the fund from the Treasury the following amounts:

We have created a slush fund from which the Secretary of HHS can spend without any congressional oversight or approval. I would suggest to my colleagues that, if you wanted more funding to go towards smoking cessation or to any other program, the health care law should have contained an explicit authorization. By eliminating this fund, we are not cutting any specific program. This is about reclaiming our oversight role of how Federal tax dollars should be used.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Waxman, D-CA]: This bill represents the Republicans' newest line of attack to disrupt, dismantle, and to ultimately destroy the Affordable Care Act. For many years, Republicans have joined with Democrats in supporting programs to prevent disease, to promote health and, in turn, to cut health care costs. But today, the House will vote to end funding for the first and only Federal program with dedicated, ongoing resources designed to make us a healthier Nation.

Reference: To repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund; Bill H.1217 ; vote number 11-HV264 on Apr 13, 2011

Voted NO on regulating tobacco as a drug.

Congressional Summary:Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to provide for the regulation of tobacco products by the Secretary of Health and Human Services through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Defines a tobacco product as any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption. Excludes from FDA authority the tobacco leaf and tobacco farms.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. HEATH SHULER (D, NC-11): Putting a dangerous, overworked FDA in charge of tobacco is a threat to public safety. Last year, the FDA commissioner testified that he had serious concerns that this bill could undermine the public health role of the FDA. And the FDA Science Board said the FDA's inability to keep up with scientific advancements means that Americans' lives will be at risk.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. HENRY WAXMAN (D, CA-30): The bill before us, the Waxman-Platts bill, has been carefully crafted over more than a decade, in close consultation with the public health community. It's been endorsed by over 1,000 different public health, scientific, medical, faith, and community organizations.

Sen. HARRY REID (D, NV): Yesterday, 3,500 children who had never smoked before tried their first cigarette. For some, it will also be their last cigarette but certainly not all. If you think 3,500 is a scary number, how about 3.5 million. That is a pretty scary number. That is how many American high school kids smoke--3.5 million. Nearly all of them aren't old enough to buy cigarettes. It means we have as many boys and girls smoking as are participating in athletics in high schools. We have as many as are playing football, basketball, track and field, and baseball combined.

Reference: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; Bill HR1256&S982 ; vote number 2009-H187 on Apr 2, 2009

Voted NO on expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:

Rep. FRANK PALLONE (D, NJ-6): In the last Congress, we passed legislation that enjoyed bipartisan support as well as the support of the American people. Unfortunately, it did not enjoy the support of the President, who vetoed our bill twice, and went on to proclaim that uninsured children can simply go to the emergency room to have their medical needs met. As the Nation moves deeper into a recession and unemployment rates continue to rise, millions of Americans are joining the ranks of the uninsured, many of whom are children. We can't delay. We must enact this legislation now.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. ROY BLUNT (R, MI-7): This bill doesn't require the States to meet any kind of threshold standard that would ensure that States were doing everything they could to find kids who needed insurance before they begin to spend money to find kids who may not have the same need. Under the bill several thousands of American families would be poor enough to qualify for SCHIP and have the government pay for their health care, but they'd be rich enough to still be required to pay the alternative minimum tax. The bill changes welfare participation laws by eliminating the 5-year waiting period for legal immigrants to lawfully reside in the country before they can participate in this program. In the final bill, we assume that 65% of the children receiving the benefit wouldn't get the benefit anymore. It seems to me this bill needs more work, would have benefited from a committee hearing. It doesn't prioritize poor kids to ensure that they get health care first.

Reference: SCHIP Reauthorization Act; Bill H.R.2 ; vote number 2009-H016 on Jan 14, 2009

Voted NO on overriding veto on expansion of Medicare.

Congressional Summary:Pres. GEORGE W. BUSH's veto message (argument to vote No):In addition, H.R. 6331 would delay important reforms like the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies competitive bidding program. Changing policy in mid-stream is also confusing to beneficiaries who are receiving services from quality suppliers at lower prices. In order to slow the growth in Medicare spending, competition within the program should be expanded, not diminished.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Sen. PATTY MURRAY (D, WA): President Bush vetoed a bill that would make vital improvements to the program that has helped ensure that millions of seniors and the disabled can get the care they need. This bill puts an emphasis on preventive care that will help our seniors stay healthy, and it will help to keep costs down by enabling those patients to get care before they get seriously ill. This bill will improve coverage for low-income seniors who need expert help to afford basic care. It will help make sure our seniors get mental health care.

Reference: Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act; Bill HR.6331 ; vote number 2008-H491 on Jul 15, 2008

Voted NO on giving mental health full equity with physical health.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. PALLONE. This is a comprehensive bill which will establish full mental health and addiction care parity. The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 authorized for 5 years partial parity by mandating that the annual and lifetime dollar limit for mental health treatment under group health plans offering mental health coverage be no less than that for physical illnesses. This bill requires full parity and also protects against discrimination by diagnosis.

OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Rep. DEAL of Georgia: I am a supporter of the concept of mental health parity, but this bill before us today is not the correct approach. This path will raise the price of health insurance, and would cause some to lose their health insurance benefits and some employers to terminate mental health benefits altogether.

The bill's focus is also overly broad. Our legislation should focus on serious biologically-based mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, not on jet lag and caffeine addiction, as this bill would include. There are no criteria for judicial review, required notice and comment, or congressional review of future decisions.

I would ask my colleagues to vote "no" today so that we can take up the Senate bill and avoid a possible stalemate in a House-Senate conference on an issue that should be signed into law this Congress.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Bill passed House, 268-148

Reference: Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act; Bill H.R.1424 ; vote number 08-HR1424 on Mar 5, 2008

Voted NO on Veto override: Extend SCHIP to cover 6M more kids.

OnTheIssues Explanation: This vote is a veto override of the SCHIP extension (State Children's Health Insurance Program). The bill passed the House 265-142 on 10/25/07, and was vetoed by Pres. Bush on 12/12/07.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: This Act would enroll all 6 million uninsured children who are eligible, but not enrolled, for coverage under existing programs.

PRESIDENT'S VETO MESSAGE: Our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage--not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage. My Administration strongly supports reauthorization of SCHIP. [But this bill, even with changes, does not meet the requirements I outlined].

It would still shift SCHIP away from its original purpose by covering adults. It would still include coverage of many individuals with incomes higher than the median income. It would still result in government health care for approximately 2 million children who already have private health care coverage.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Rep. DINGELL: This is not a perfect bill, but it is an excellent bipartisan compromise. The bill protects health insurance coverage for some 6 million children who now depend on SCHIP. It provides health coverage for 3.9 million children who are eligible, yet remain uninsured. Together, this is a total of better than 10 million young Americans who, without this legislation, would not have health insurance.

The bill makes changes to accommodate the President's stated concerns.

  1. It terminates the coverage of childless adults in 1 year.
  2. It prohibits States from covering children in families with incomes above $51,000.
  3. It contains adequate enforcement to ensure that only US citizens are covered.
  4. It encourages securing health insurance provided through private employer.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Veto override failed, 260-152 (2/3rds required)
Reference: SCHIP Extension; Bill Veto override on H.R.3963 ; vote number 08-HR3963 on Jan 23, 2008

Voted NO on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility.

Allows State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), that require state legislation to meet additional requirements imposed by this Act, additional time to make required plan changes. Pres. Bush vetoed this bill on Dec. 12, 2007, as well as a version (HR976) from Feb. 2007.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. DINGELL: This is not a perfect bill, but it is an excellent bipartisan compromise. The bill provides health coverage for 3.9 million children who are eligible, yet remain uninsured. It meets the concerns expressed in the President's veto message [from HR976]:

  1. It terminates the coverage of childless adults.
  2. It targets bonus payments only to States that increase enrollments of the poorest uninsured children, and it prohibits States from covering families with incomes above $51,000.
  3. It contains adequate enforcement to ensure that only US citizens are covered.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. DEAL: This bill [fails to] fix the previous legislation that has been vetoed:

Veto message from President Bush:

Like its predecessor, HR976, this bill does not put poor children first and it moves our country's health care system in the wrong direction. Ultimately, our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage--not to move children who already have private health insurance to government coverage. As a result, I cannot sign this legislation.

Reference: Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act; Bill H.R. 3963 ; vote number 2007-1009 on Oct 25, 2007

Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D.

Would require negotiating with pharmaceutical manufacturers the prices that may be charged to prescription drug plan sponsors for covered Medicare part D drugs.

Proponents support voting YES because:

This legislation is an overdue step to improve part D drug benefits. The bipartisan bill is simple and straightforward. It removes the prohibition from negotiating discounts with pharmaceutical manufacturers, and requires the Secretary of Health & Human Services to negotiate. This legislation will deliver lower premiums to the seniors, lower prices at the pharmacy and savings for all taxpayers.

It is equally important to understand that this legislation does not do certain things. HR4 does not preclude private plans from getting additional discounts on medicines they offer seniors and people with disabilities. HR4 does not establish a national formulary. HR4 does not require price controls. HR4 does not hamstring research and development by pharmaceutical houses. HR4 does not require using the Department of Veterans Affairs' price schedule.

Opponents support voting NO because:

Does ideological purity trump sound public policy? It shouldn't, but, unfortunately, it appears that ideology would profoundly change the Medicare part D prescription drug program, a program that is working well, a program that has arrived on time and under budget. The changes are not being proposed because of any weakness or defect in the program, but because of ideological opposition to market-based prices. Since the inception of the part D program, America's seniors have had access to greater coverage at a lower cost than at any time under Medicare.

Under the guise of negotiation, this bill proposes to enact draconian price controls on pharmaceutical products. Competition has brought significant cost savings to the program. The current system trusts the marketplace, with some guidance, to be the most efficient arbiter of distribution.

Reference: Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act; Bill HR 4 ("First 100 hours") ; vote number 2007-023 on Jan 12, 2007

Voted NO on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay.

Vote to pass a resolution, agreeing to S. AMDT. 2691 that removes the following provisions from S 1932:
Reference: Reconciliation resolution on the FY06 budget; Bill H Res 653 on S. AMDT. 2691 ; vote number 2006-004 on Feb 1, 2006

Voted NO on limiting medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000 damages.

Vote to pass a bill that would limit the awards that plaintiffs and their attorneys could be given in medical malpractice cases. The bill would limit non-economic damages, including physical and emotional pain to $250,000. The bill would also limit punitive damages to $250,000 or double economic damages, whichever amount is greater. Punitive damages would be banned against makers and distributors of medical products if the Food and Drug Administration approved those products. The bill would call for all states to set damage caps but would not block existing state statutory limits. The bill would cap attorneys' contingency fees to 40% of the first $50,000 in damages; 33.3% of the next $50,000; 25% of the next $500,000; and 15% of any amount in excess of $600,000.
Reference: Medical Malpractice Liability Limitation bill; Bill HR 4280 ; vote number 2004-166 on May 12, 2004

Voted NO on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients.

Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2003: Vote to adopt the conference report on the bill that would create a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. Starting in 2006, prescription coverage would be made available through private insurers to seniors. Seniors would pay a monthly premium of an estimated $35 in 2006. Individuals enrolled in the plan would cover the first $250 of annual drug costs themselves, and 25 percent of all drug costs up to $2,250. The government would offer a fallback prescription drug plan in regions were no private plans had made a bid.Over a 10 year time period medicare payments to managed care plans would increase by $14.2 billion. A pilot project would begin in 2010 in which Medicare would compete with private insurers to provide coverage for doctors and hospitals costs in six metropolitan areas for six years. The importation of drugs from Canada would be approved only if HHS determines there is no safety risks and that consumers would be saving money.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hastert, R-IL; Bill HR.1 ; vote number 2003-669 on Nov 22, 2003

Voted YES on allowing reimportation of prescription drugs.

Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003: Vote to pass a bill that would call for the Food and Drug Administration to begin a program that would permit the importation of FDA-approved prescription drugs from Australia, Canada, the European Union, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and South Africa.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Gutknecht, R-MN; Bill HR.2427 ; vote number 2003-445 on Jul 24, 2003

Voted YES on small business associations for buying health insurance.

Vote to pass a bill that would permit the creation of association health plans through which small companies could group together to buy insurance for their employees. Association health plans that cover employees in several states would be excused from many individual state insurance regulations but would be regulated by the Labor Department.
Reference: Small Business Health Fairness Act; Bill HR 660 ; vote number 2003-296 on Jun 19, 2003

Voted NO on capping damages & setting time limits in medical lawsuits.

Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2003: To improve patient access to health care services and provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system. Limits the availability of punitive damages, and sets a 3-year limit for suing.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Greenwood, R-PA; Bill HR 5 ; vote number 2003-64 on Mar 13, 2003

Voted NO on subsidizing private insurance for Medicare Rx drug coverage.

HR 4680, the Medicare Rx 2000 Act, would institute a new program to provide voluntary prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries through subsidies to private plans. The program would cost an estimated $40 billion over five years and would go into effect in fiscal 2003.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Thomas, R-CA; Bill HR 4680 ; vote number 2000-357 on Jun 28, 2000

Voted NO on banning physician-assisted suicide.

Vote on HR 2260, the Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999, would ban the use of drugs for physician-assisted suicide. The bill would not allow doctors to give lethal prescriptions to terminally ill patients, and instead promotes "palliative care," or aggressive pain relief techniques.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hyde, R-IL; Bill HR 2260 ; vote number 1999-544 on Oct 27, 1999

Voted YES on establishing tax-exempt Medical Savings Accounts.

The bill allows all taxpayers to create a tax-exempt account for paying medical expenses called a Medical Savings Account [MSA]. Also, the measure would allow the full cost of health care premiums to be taken as a tax deduction for the self-employed and taxpayers who are paying for their own insurance. The bill would also allow the establishment of "HealthMarts," regional groups of insurers, health care providers and employers who could work together to develop packages for uninsured employees. Another provision of the bill would establish "association health plan," in which organizations could combine resources to purchase health insurance at better rates than they could separately.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Talent, R-MO; Bill HR 2990 ; vote number 1999-485 on Oct 6, 1999

Abolish federal Medicare entitlement; leave it to states.

Paul adopted the Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement:

    BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Liberty Caucus endorses the following [among its] principles:
  1. Free market health care alternatives, such as medical savings accounts, should be available to everyone, including senior citizens.
  2. The federal entitlement to Medicare should be abolished, leaving health care decision making regarding the elderly at the state, local, or personal level.
Source: Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement 00-RLC3 on Dec 8, 2000

Limit anti-trust lawsuits on health plans and insurers.

Paul co-sponsored limiting anti-trust lawsuits on health plans and insurers

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:

EXCERPTS FROM CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS:

    Congress finds the following:
  1. A large number of Americans receive their health care coverage from managed health care plans.
  2. The market power of insurance companies has increased tremendously since the early 1990's, due to mergers and acquisitions.
  3. Health plans improperly manipulate the practice of medicine through such mechanisms as inappropriately making medical necessity determinations, and knowingly denying and delaying payment.
  4. The intent of the antitrust laws is to encourage competition and protect the consumer, and the current per se standard for enforcing the antitrust laws in the health care field frequently does not achieve these objectives.
  5. An application of the "rule of reason" will tend to promote both competition and high-quality patient care.
  6. In any action under the antitrust laws challenging a health plan, conduct shall not be deemed illegal per se, but shall be judged on the basis of its reasonableness, taking into account all relevant factors affecting competition and proposed contract terms.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary; never called for a House vote.

Source: Health Care Antitrust Improvements Act (H.R.3897) 02-HR3897 on Mar 7, 2002

Rated 56% by APHA, indicating a mixed record on public health issues.

Paul scores 56% by APHA on health issues

The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, representing more than 50,000 members from over 50 occupations of public health. APHA is concerned with a broad set of issues affecting personal and environmental health, including federal and state funding for health programs, pollution control, programs and policies related to chronic and infectious diseases, a smoke-free society, and professional education in public health.

The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: APHA website 03n-APHA on Dec 31, 2003

Prohibit mandatory mental health screen for students.

Paul sponsored prohibiting mandatory mental health screening for students

To prohibit the use of Federal funds for any universal or mandatory mental health screening program.

Introductory statement by Sponsor:

Rep. PAUL: This bill forbids Federal funds from being used for any universal or mandatory mental health screening of students without the express, written, voluntary, informed consent of their parents or legal guardian. This bill protects the fundamental right of parents to direct and control the upbringing and education of their children.

[A Congressional commission] recommends that universal or mandatory mental health screening first be implemented in public schools as a prelude to expanding it to the general public. However, neither the commission's report nor any related mental health screening proposal requires parental consent before a child is subjected to mental health screening. Federally-funded universal or mandatory mental health screening in schools without parental consent could lead to labeling more children as "ADD" or "hyperactive" and thus force more children to take psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin, against their parents' wishes.

Many children have suffered harmful side effects from using psychotropic drugs. Some of the possible side effects include mania, violence, dependence, and weight gain. Yet, parents are already being threatened with child abuse charges if they resist efforts to drug their children. Imagine how much easier it will be to drug children against their parents' wishes if a Federally-funded mental health screener makes the recommendation.

Source: Parental Consent Act (H.R.2387 ) 07-HR2387 on May 17, 2007

Remove restrictions on estriol (menopause medication).

Paul co-sponsored removing restrictions on estriol (menopause medication)

A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) new policy restricting women's access to medications containing estriol does not serve the public interest.

    Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the Congress that--
  1. physicians are in the best position to determine which medications are most appropriate for their patients;
  2. the FDA should respect the physician-patient relationship; and
  3. the FDA should reverse its policy that aims to eliminate patients' access to compounded medications containing estriol.
Source: SCR88/HCR342 08-SCR88 on Jun 10, 2008

Repeal the Job-Killing Health Care Law.

Paul co-sponsored Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act

Repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, effective as of its enactment. Restores provisions of law amended by such Act.

Repeals the health care provisions of the Health Care and Education and Reconciliation Act of 2010, effective as of the Act's enactment. Restores provisions of law amended by the Act's health care provisions.

Source: H.R.2 11-HR002 on Jan 5, 2011

Expand medical savings accounts for employers & individuals.

Paul co-sponsored expanding medical savings accounts for employers

    To expand the availability of medical savings accounts. Amends the Internal Revenue Code with respect to medical savings accounts to:
  1. repeal the limitation on the number of accounts;
  2. make all employers (currently limited to small employers) eligible to offer accounts;
  3. increase contribution deduction amounts;
  4. permit employer and employee contributions;
  5. reduce high deductible health plan deductibles; and
  6. permit accounts to be offered under cafeteria plans.
Source: Medical Savings Account Effectiveness Act (H.R.614) 1999-H614 on Feb 8, 1999

Expedited licensing for biosimilar products.

Paul signed Promoting Innovation & Access to Life-Saving Medicine Act

Source: S.726&HR.1427 2009-S726 on Mar 11, 2009

Other candidates on Health Care: Ron Paul on other issues:
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Page last updated: May 31, 2012