Rand Paul: Universal Health Care Is “Slavery”
by: Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses
At a 11 May 2011 hearing held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, a short debate over healthcare delivery took place between Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Sanders, who is chair of the subcommittee, is one of the Senate’s few independents and is a socialist at heart. Paul, who is an MD (an ophthalmologist), is a “Tea Party” Republican and a libertarian at heart.
The subcommittee meeting was held to investigate the use of emergency rooms as primary care centers by the poor and uninsured. Many people in the United States, who find themselves without access to proper health care facilities, end up using hospital emergency rooms for their everyday health needs. This turns out to be very expensive. It creates a financial hardship for the hospitals which must either supply uncompensated services or turn sick folks away. If such patients could be redirected to less expensive facilities it could result in savings of $6 and 40 billion a year according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Sanders, who has taken the position that access to health care is a “fundamental right,” believes the answer to this problem is to expand the use of government subsidized community health centers, which would cost much less in the long run and supply just the sort of broad spectrum primary care people need. Indeed, a program in his own state of Vermont has demonstrated that he is correct.