Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul spoke today about the need for a sound health care system. In his speech he set forth his own proposal for universal health care.
As part of his Freedom is Popular campaign theme, the Ron Paul health care plan involves universal access to medical care through a concept called capitalism. Patients would be free to see whatever doctors they want by paying money to the doctors when they see them. Doctors, and other health care providers, would similarly be free to accept patients based on the patient's willingness to pay for such care. Ron Paul campaign manager Lew Moore stressed that the candidate's experience as an actual physician lends credence to his proposal: "He's treated real patients, so he knows."
Response to the proposal was mixed. On the positive side Mike Cannon, the health policy director from the Cato Institute, said that "capitalism is the only answer to our health care crisis ... and Dr. Paul is the only one who gets it." There were some negative responses as well, with Democratic candidate John Edwards invoking his own Two Americas campaign theme: "This idea protects the rich Republican side of America, while leaving behind the poor Democrat side, especially poor medical malpractice lawyers like me." Edwards' comments were cut short when he noticed a nearby boutique hair salon had an opening and he made a break for it.
The biggest problem for the Ron Paul campaign continues to be the overall lack of response. Most major candidates had no comment on the idea, and prominent media such as network television and leading newspapers did not mention this news item. In general most of the presidential candidates do support some kind of universal health care plan. Ron Paul had a short critique of their proposals: "They're socialism, and socialism is not freedom."
Jim Pason, secretary of the Socialist Party USA, was quick to rebut Paul's socialism critique: "Hillary-care and Rudy-care are not socialism! Under their mainstream proposals, people will still have to pay for some kinds of healthcare. Under true socialism, everything will be free, and we can all go dancing in the fields."