Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Rand Paul says people who support universal healthcare 'believe in slavery'

Rand Paul

Rand Paul
, the freshman senator from Kentucky, was speaking recently about healthcare, specifically the new healthcare law some refer to as "Obamacare."  Like many Republicans, Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), doesn't like it. Unlike many conservatives, the "tea party" darling doesn't like the law  because it reminds him of slavery.

"With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to healthcare, you have to realize what that implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me," Paul said recently in a Senate subcommittee hearing.

"It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses," Paul said, adding that there is "an implied use of force."

"If I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to healthcare, you have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That’s ultimately what the right to free healthcare would be," Paul said.

Alex Pardee of Salon wonders whether Paul would also agree that lawyers have been slaves for over 200 years since the Constitution clearly states that people shall "enjoy the right" to have "the assistance of counsel" in criminal prosecutions.

Think Progress' Alex Seitz-Wald writes "by Paul’s logic, the pope supports slavery," because in November, Pope Benedict XVI and other Catholic Church leaders proclaimed that governments should consider healthcare a priority since it is one of the "inalienable rights" of man.


Rand Paul doesn't shake hands with opponent after 'Aqua Buddha' debate

Rand Paul mocks Newt Gingrich's marriages and Fox News' stance on Libya

Toilets join light bulbs on Rand Paul's list of necessities burdened by 'busybody' rules

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) talks with reporters on Capitol Hill. Credit: Chip Somodevilla /Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (63)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Hey, if NFL players can make the same ill-advised analogies, so can a Congressman, I guess.

It's not the first time Rand Paul has made a poor public statement. It won't be the last. He is not a perfected, shrewd orator like our dear Leader.

However, the point he is making is valid, and the man is one of the few worth listening to in Washington D.C.

Um... he's right.

'Alex Pardee of Salon wonders whether Paul would also agree that lawyers have been slaves for over 200 years since the Constitution clearly states that people shall "enjoy the right" to have "the assistance of counsel" in criminal prosecutions."

Errr, the people pay the saleries of public defenders, public defender are part of the government. People have no right to lawyers in private practice.

Mr. Pardee shouldn't be commenting on things he doesn't understand. it only makes him look foolish.

Good for Rand Paul, he's right! Many Doctor's will be leaving the work place. Did you ever hear the old saying, "you reap what you sow"? Just wait until we get the bill in the mail for the health insurance everyone is going to have to pay. That doesn't take place until after the election of 2012 otherwise for sure Obama would be out. He is good at scheduling but not much else that I've seen. Just another George Bush wrapped differently.

I'm a physician, too, and this airhead doesn't speak for me.

Universal healthcare would move this country (finally) into the 21st century.

And no, physicians aren't going to be leaving their jobs over finally giving America full and equal access to healthcare. Nice try with scare tactics, though. Since you can't argue on the facts, gotta use stupidity one supposes.

Rand Paul is basically an idiot. Most of us outgrew "libertarianism" when we left adolescence. The fact that Rand Paul and his racist father have not tells you all you need to know about "Dr" Paul.

"Alex Pardee of Salon wonders whether Paul would also agree that lawyers have been slaves for over 200 years since the Constitution clearly states that people shall 'enjoy the right' to have 'the assistance of counsel' in criminal prosecutions.

Alex should be aware that until Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), "right to counsel" didn't mean the government had to provide you with a lawyer. Rand may be against this court decision.

There may be a key difference between a "right to health care" and a "right to lawyer in criminal prosecutions" is that one makes demands upon other people and on makes a demand upon government, a the class of force that should be held in suspicion.

Rand is right

I suppose that I haven't left adolescence yet. What happens if no one wants to be a public defender? Do we conscript lawyers?
I don't think that universal healthcare is a bad thing, i just don't think that government should be involved. I don't like government (read people who believe in telling others how to live) should be allowed to stray outside the Constitution. Obviously I'm in the minority.
So if healthcare is a right then shouldn't ANY need that has the ability to affect your health be considered a right? Food? Shelter? Clothing? What if you honestly believe that you deserve to eat steak every day and become depressed if you don't? Does steak become a right because not eating it affects your mental health?
I have crappy connectivity where I live and sometimes the long waiting makes my blood pressure rise. This obviously has adverse affects on my health, therefore high-speed is a right. I don't think that anything less than an OC8 will help.

First, the Constitution isn't based on what the Catholic Church believes "rights" are, thank God. If the church believes so much in healthcare, it should sell its VAST assets and build free hospitals in every corner of the earth (which would cover a lot of corners). Let's not forget that (regardless of your stance) the U.S. has also determined that there's a right to reproductive choice that is at odds with the Pope and his friends. Some (probably none in that church) might say that keeping entire populations of certain countries poor, ignorant and pregnant is bad. Point: The church doesn't walk its talk, and there are reasons we don't let the church run things, nor fashion our politics after the "rights" it wishes to impose. If we did, we'd look a lot like, say, Mexico, Ireland or the Phillipines.

Second, the ONLY lawyers that do criminal defense are those that CHOOSE to. I worked at a D.A.'s office and never once heard of a tax attorney being dragged into a courtroom and handed an accused client upon pain of disbarment.

Third, I can't recall ever seeing a Salon writer being quoted regarding Constitutional law issues. Just an opinion, but perhaps both the Salon writer AND the person quoting him should stick to chatting about Britney Spears' latest hairstyle than wander into the deeper waters of Constitutional law before putting fingers to keyboard.

If you are a doctor, lawyer, or any other service provider in private practice and I ask for your services, but we cannot reach a voluntary agreement on price or availability, what should happen then?

What then if I claim that the service you provide is "my right"? How does that change the interaction?

As a Canadian who has access to Universal Health Care I have to say that this is not what it is like at all. In fact, I've never heard of it being like that in any country that has any sort of universal health care system.

The idea that doctors are enslaved and "dragged out of their homes" and the like is such utter nonsense I can barely stand to think of it. It's unfortunate that people believe such disgusting scare tactics, universal health care should be a basic human right and it's a shame that people in the United States can't see otherwise.

The fact that there are people who support and believe the things this vile, lying scum has to say is what is wrong with your country.

Our Government has FAILED!!!
Only if it stays within its constitutional roles, "We the People" then can prosper AGAIN...


It consumes too much from the Productive members of the Whole Economy... AND PRODUCE NOTHING!!!

To much government is NOT Healthy for a Free & Prosperous Society!!!




THINK FREEDOM from the corrupted body!!!


This could only be considered slavery if the police are also slaves. At some point, if you want to practice medicine, there will be a way you can and can't do it.

I am more and more believing what he says is very true about health care. We need to wake up America.

You have a right to pursue getting health care. You don't have a right to obtain it. You can't have a right that requires other people give up their rights for your rights.

Although many, if not most, people in this country believe they are "entitled" to other peoples labor and money, that doesn't make it so.

I've actually being arguing this for quite some time.

(First) Healthcare is a product.
(Second) Products are produced through labor.
(Third) By claiming a right to a product, one claims a right to the labor that produced it.
(Fourth) Slavery is the condition of another person claiming a right to your labor.
(Fifth) Therefore, the claim that healthcare is a right is a claim that slavery is a right.

This attempts to be a short, logical proof explaining the argument for why a right to healthcare is the same as a right to slavery. I welcome any challenges to the soundness and/or validity of this proof.

How can something be a right that someone else has to be forced to give up? What happens to the basic right of the person, who must surrender the good or service, to make their own choices with their body, time, property, etc.? Basic human rights are things that you ALREADY HAVE by virtue of being human, and that SHOULDN'T BE TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU--life, freakin' liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--not things that you resent others having.

The right to an attorney? Pardee is a clown.That "right" is in the context of the legal system as it's laid out...Does he really think that because the law says, "In this court system we describe, you have a right to an attorney," that it's saying all humans come into this world with a right to skilled legal representation? Is this guy serious?

And because some pope has never studied the detailed writings of political philosophers on human rights and the role of government, that makes such an absurd statement as "health care is an unalienable right" correct? If this pope said the holocaust never happened, would that make it true--because he's a pope, and he said it??? I mean, that's being given as evidence? This guy is a pope and he said something, therefore, that something is true.

I don't know if Paul's rhetorical choices are the best, but his point is spot on. The government doesn't have magic powers; it's just a collection of corrupt morons. When you get something "for free" because it's a "right," that means that thing, or the means that produce it, have been sucked right out of the realm of voluntary and productive activity and put into the realm of threats and handouts. The government must, in one way or another, *confiscate* it from someone, who had every right, as a human, to possess it and decide what to do with it.

This is basic "Why Socialism Fails." We all ought to know this stuff by now.

Omigosh. Does not one person here get the meaning of sarcasm/irony?

The only way to get free healthcare would indeed be to enslave doctors. In other words, he is saying, universal healthcare is not free. The government does not produce anything to hand out. In order to get anything, they must take it from us, or add to the national debt, and take it from our kids/grandkids.

The unalienable rights we have are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is how it should be. For me to say I have other rights would mean that other people can be forced to provide them (by being taxed). That goes beyond basic rights.

What is Rand Paul saying, Keep Fear Alive.

And now a messsage from Cigna.

Let us provide you the luxury of paying more now,
so we can deny the lifesaving treatment you need later.

Cigna, We do death panels right.

I'm a pretty healthy 29 yrs. old male who practices a healthy lifestyle. I probably visit the doctors maybe once out of 5 yrs of my existence. But if I'm going to have to pay for an individual who doesn't take any responsibilities for a healthy lifestyle, I'd be pretty upset. People have got to stop relying on the government for the essential needs of life.

- Anti-welfare guy who believes you are responsible for your own life.

The point he made is valid?

How is it even a point? He literally MADE SOMETHING UP, otherwise known as a LIE.

Come to his out and make him be a doctor at gunpoint? Noone has ever mentioned doing anything like that EVER.

Police officers and doctors are HIRED. Not forced by gunpoint, where the hell does he think he is?
Can we fire this guy? Shouldnt there be something against lying?

American healthcare sucks so much that Newfoundland Primier Danny Williams chose to have surgery in the US instead of Canada.

On his return, Williams later defended his choice saying: "I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics".

Tell you what...lets drop healthcare for everybody..including our 'fearless' leaders. Now, no more insurance companies covering healthcare..ya gotta pay cash or barter...everybody in??

Dear Dr. Paul,

If you're a healer, you have a moral obligation to care for the sick.

In return, your community provides you an upper-class lifestyle, calls you doctor, and treats you special.

Seems like a good deal all around despite the demands of your arcane philosophy and invisible-hand-mysticism.

Obamacare, if held up by the courts as constitutional, will provide Congress with the right to dictate to Americans anything they see fit. American rights and privileges are on the chopping block.

Wow ... he's kind of out there, but he sure is right on with this one. Only a traitor would compare lawyers to doctors ... all lawyers aren't FORCED into an unfair system. Stupid and evil comparison.

Yeah, right, it means doctors will be kept in chains, whipped every time the patient doesn't get well, and have their wives and children sold away from them at some patient's whim.

Paul's comment is obscene.

Senator Paul is not saying that doctors are slaves. He is saying that the 'right' to any service that must be performed by someone else implies that someone else can be forced to perform it. Currently, taxpayers are forced to pay doctors to provide health care for others in many cases. That is because health care is not yet an absolute right as people like Cass Sunstein want it to be. If it were an absolute right, then anyone claiming the need for it would have the 'right' to demand someone provide it. That would be slavery. This is not only true for health care; it would also be true for the so-called 'right' to an education, to a 'decent home', to a 'meaningful job' or any other scarce service or good that someone must produce.

What a complete dimwit. Just when you think Rand Paul can't say anything dumber, ........................
Forget the bible, these Tea Party nut jobs follow the faith of Ayn "Rand" (Atlas Shrugged).

Rand Paul is not saying that doctors are slaves, at least not as things currently stand. As things currently stand, it is taxpayers who are forced to pay doctors for other people's health care, in many cases. If, however, health care were an absolute right, it would mean that anyone claiming a need for it could demand it and someone else could be obliged (forced) to provide it. It would also mean that children could be taken away from their parents at birth and, if it were determined that they had the ability to become doctors, the state could 'train' them become doctors - as was practiced in communist countries where forced labor was the norm.

What is really crazy is people here don't think they were paying for this already before the law was enacted. If you feel this is slavery I have news, you've been "enslaved" for a very long time. This law didn't change it. The uninsured neglect their care due to lack of available treatment. (i.e it cost money they didn't have at the time) When things get real bad they visit hospitals. (Not many other options) By then the bill is larger because they a) neglected themselves to the point where treatment is now really expensive and b) went to a hospital for treatment. Hospitals deal with these problems. Hospitals then pass these costs onto everybody else in the form of larger bills. Which our insurance companies pay.

And talk about slavery. Not providing any health cover for workers so you can maximize your profits and lower your wages to the absolute minimum. That sounds much more in-line with slavery than anything.

um...he not, it's just a bunch of babble...i don't understand how people keep voting these fools in office....nothing they say make any sense...1st of all, all that it is are scare tactics & lies, & what would be the problem with everybody having health care!!!! please tell me what is the problem with that....while I'll agree Obama has made mistakes, but which president hasn't? this man is trying to stop insurances from denying you coverage, trying to stop pre-existing conditions...& trying to make people who have crappy insurance or can't afford none @ all have some....if you people want to keep listening to dummies like these then go ahead...when will you people learn the Republicans don't care about the middle class and under.... IDIOTS!!!!

slaves don't get is he right...and it doesn't have an issue to do with the doctors...this issue is more with the insurance companies....most of you sound like idiots...a private practice doctor doesn't have to treat you, he doesn't....that is the doctor right, nothing in the "Obamacare", how you morons like to say...i repeat, this has more to do with regulating insurance companies than it does with the physicians....God, there are so many stupid people in the world...I don't understand if you aren't a millionaire why do you vote for these dummies?!

Yes. If the HC law is fully enacted, then many many doctors will leave their professions. Yes, they will take all that effort of a decade+ of education, 20-hour rotations, hard work, studying for evaluation exams for months, etc. and throw it all away. Yes. Because doctors, though they are really intelligent and hard working, always have poor judgement.

Would someone remind Rand that he has the right to NOT be a physician in a conscripted healthcare setting and that Obamacare is not that version of "universal" healthcare? ObamaCare has myriad flaws, but it does not conscript or enslave physicians. Physicians can choose to accept Medicaid members for certain services and not for others. This will still be a "participatory" system in the same manner as it is in the private payer space. Providers who choose to participate in treating straight Medicaid covered members also acknowledge acceptance of its rates, otherwise, providers not required to be Medicaid certified in whatever specialty for whatever contracted payment agreement don't have to put up with it. That would allow them to remain completely private practitioners.

'And no, physicians aren't going to be leaving their jobs over finally giving America full and equal access to healthcare.'

Yes, they are. I know a dozen who have already planned their retirement for the coming year due to ObamaCare.

And the first one to cry 'racism' in a msg board is usually the racist, Bob.

The right to PURSUE happiness does not mean the right TO happiness. Rand Paul is simply following what the Constitution says and paraphrasing... don't hate him just because he is correct.

Actually, NOBODY has a "right to life," because life doesn't exist in a vacuum. Without things like food, water, shelter, clothing, air and healthcare, life ceases to exist. Since we do not have rights to any of the things that sustain life, the alleged "right to life" the Constitution blabbers about is complete nonsense.

That said, although we don't have a "right" to healthcare, what we do have is the right to peacefully obtain products and services, meaning buy them from someone who wants to sell them to us or accept them from someone who wants to give them to us for free. In the healthcare arena, the gov't infringes on this right via things such as medical licensing laws, the FDA, the drug war and prescription laws.

Everyone should have the right to purchase healthcare services from anyone who wishes to sell them to us, whether or not that person is licensed. Likewise, we should have the right to purchase whatever drugs we want from anyone who wishes to sell them from us, without having to ask permission from doctors or pharmacists.

Finally, we should also have the right to choose to end our lives via euthanasia. 5150 laws should be struck down, as they force treatment upon people who DO NOT WANT TO BE TREATED.

Comparing lawyers to physicians is like comparing apples to oranges. The people are guaranteed equal access to legal representation; however, unlike medical attention, provisions for legal representation can be contained within the confines of regular business hours - medical emergencies can happen at any time, morning, noon, and night. Rand Paul's analogy still stands.

I guess nobody's ever heard of TANSTAAFL... There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

Whenever you think about how great a handout from the government sounds, stop and ask yourself this - "At Who's Expense?"

Rand Paul has the courage to say it plainly, and he's absolutely right - it's about the RIGHT to a service. Governments don't create 'rights' - when they attempt to, they create slaves because they force people who provide services to do things they would not do of their own free will. For all those out there who think he's crazy - what would you do if the government came to your place of business and required that you operate that business at a loss and said you have no choice in who your customers are and from now on your only customer is the government. Further, the entire industry in which your business operates was confiscated by the government - so your chosen field provided no alternatives to this new plan? See, that's the 'slavery' part, your Massah is now the government and you suddenly have no choice but to do as your are told. Isn't there something fundamentally wrong with this picture? Invariably, people who don't 'get' this look at this debate only through the eyes of what they would 'get' from such a program, not from the eyes of the ones under the whip. Isn't it time we ask ourselves if we are primarily a 'Taker' or a 'Giver' in our lives?

"Any society that would give up a little freedom for a little security deserves neither and will lose both"~ Benjamin Franklin

Michaeline McDonald

Ouch. I thought Rand would be as reasonable as his father. Turns out he want's to be as mudslinging and provocative as the rest of the GOP.

His analogy is not true. Doctors are not slaves because they get paid. We already pay for health care through emergency treatments of uninsured patients. Unless we change the law in which hospitals are not required to treat sick people if they do not have the ability to pay. Our cost still go up. The basis of insurance is to subsidize the cost of care for sick people using a larger healthier base. The Paul's theory of going back to the constitution doesn't make sense economically. If you look at society btw 1700-1900's you'll see that most of the country was poor while the 1 percent controlled most of the wealth. It simply did not work. To do away with the income tax would mean that you are essentially increasing the wealth gap between the majority and the minority. If one looks at growth cycles, growth only occurred in era's where the majority had access to funds to purchase goods and services. As far as gov oversight, we will probably live in a much more different society with out it. Agencies like the EPA and FDA have changed society. EPA has stopped companies from turning an extra dollar at the health expense of Americans. With out it millions more would have cancer and millions more resources would be polluted. The FDA stopped companies from mislabeling products and selling them to consumers. They stopped the use of dangerous chemicals such as ethylene glycol from being used in consumer goods. I don't see how theses things are bad. The Paul's need to figure out whose side they are on, the People or the Corporations, because only Corps benefit from laissez faire.

I live in the fattest county in America, why should I have to pay for their right to free health care. I ride my bike everyday, so why should I suffer for the donut packing fat asses. They are obviously going to have a heart attack before 45 and who pays for that ambulance ride to the hospitle, the open heart surgery, the medication, and every other medical cost?

These comments are truly terrifying for the future of human rights in the US. If the people won't demand to be treated humanely, instead of defending some dogmatic, Randian, social-darwinist belief that one person should never help another unless there is personal gain to be had, there won't be a free country to hand to future generations. There is such a thing as everyone pitching in a little to support and honor our physicians, as opposed to making them compete. How can it possibly make sense to turn our physical health into a competitive game where there will always be losers?

I believe 'Bob' is a physician as much as I believe Santa Claus lives at the North Pole.

Yes, Rand Paul, the police would probably drag you out of your house to the hospital to take care of someone. Right.

And also, a universal right to water and food? Yes, I do believe in that! And I bet you would too if you were without water or food!!

If you see your world as screwed up, remember that it is a reflection of decision-makers and the fact that new technology hasn't shown the ability to help the true slaves is an indication of the true values of people like this. His type can always paint an excuse where possible solutions may appear.

Slavery: the binding of one to what he/she perceives as inferior conditions.

Under this definition, Rand Paul has it better than his possible future patients. Whom should he care more about him or the patients?

1 2 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: