Sen. Rand Paul: Health care debate about 'freedom,' not 'actuarial tables and insurance'

Story highlights

  • "They think this is about actuarial tables and insurance, and all this stuff. No, this is about freedom." Paul said Thursday.
  • Paul said last month: "No one is going to die in America, we haven't let people die in America for hundreds of years because doctors take care of and hospitals take care of all comers."

(CNN)Republican Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that the debate over repealing Obamacare is about freedom and not about "actuarial tables and insurance."

"I guess what disappoints me most about the Republicans who said they were for repeal, voted for it, and then no longer are, is that they've sort of forgotten," Paul said on the "Sean Hannity Show." "They think this is about actuarial tables and insurance, and all this stuff. No, this is about freedom. This is about whether we as Americans should be free to buy what kind of insurance we want. What's best for us and our families. And it's about whether the individual knows best or government knows best. Are we too stupid that President Obama has to tell us what kind of insurance? Does he think Americans are too dumb to make their own decisions?"
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated an additional 22 million people will become uninsured by 2026 under the proposed replacement for Obamacare which the Senate voted down this week (and which Paul voted against). The CBO estimated that 32 million would be uninsured under a bill to partially repeal Obamacare without an immediate replacement that Paul voted for but which also failed to pass the Senate this week.
    Democrats have argued — and some studies have shown — that lack of access to health insurance will lead to thousands of premature deaths. The Kentucky Republican said such arguments clouded the debate, saying that, in America, doctors and hospitals "have never, ever turned anyone away."
    "Are we gonna give up our freedom and say to the government you decide what kind of insurance I get and what it covers," continued Paul. "It's a freedom issue. It really isn't about actuarial tables. It isn't about all the ins and outs. We have always taken care of those who are sick in our country. We have never, ever turned anyone away. I'm a physician. I've operated in hospitals for 25 years. I have never, ever seen anyone turned away who needed care."
    Paul argued last month that nobody dies in America because of a lack of access to health care. Speaking with the "Dom Giordano Program" on June 29 on 1210 WPHT Philadelphia radio, Paul said nobody had died in the country because of a lack of health care for "hundreds of years."
    "But the people who are saying thousands of people are gonna die," said Paul. "That is such hyperbole and ignorance and over-the-top statements that I think they lose credibility by saying things like that. No one is going to die in America, we haven't let people die in America for hundreds of years because doctors take care of and hospitals take care of all comers."
    He later added, "So it hasn't happened in generations and in fact even before Medicare and Medicaid people did not die in our country for lack of care."