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Doctor Rand Paul Prescribes Free Surgeries for 15, No Health Care for Millions

August 27, 2013

The National Review on Monday offered a heart-warming profile of Ophthalmologist turned Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Dr. Paul, it turns out, has been performing pro bono eye surgeries each year to about 15 low-income people who otherwise could not afford the treatment because, he explained, "I wanted to be able to give back to the community." Unfortunately for his promoters, the Washington Post also reported Monday that Paul would be headlining a September 10 Capitol Hill rally to defund the Affordable Care Act. To put it another way, what Dr. Paul giveth to 15 people he would taketh away from millions more.

Writing in the Review, Katrina Trinko recounted Dr. Paul's acts of true kindness over the years to Americans in need like Cynthia Burke and Julie Prince. Prince, who recently suffered a broken arm when she was walking and was hit by a turning car she could not see, was "totally blind in my left eye." Until, that is, Rand Paul came to her aid:

"I would have to pay for it out of my pocket, because I don't have any health insurance," Prince explains. Her husband, who is nine years older, is on Medicare, but Prince is too young to qualify and can't afford the $690 a month she says health insurance would cost her. She was thrilled when Bowers told her that she and Paul did pro bono surgeries. "Finding out that he would do it for nothing is like he just gave me $2,800," Prince says.

Unfortunately for millions of other Americans, Rand Paul wants to take away a lot more than $2,800. After all, beginning in 2014 Obamacare would like provide health insurance, either through the expansion of Medicaid or through robust subsidies, not just for virtually every one of the people Dr. Paul treated for free, but for millions more like them. But as Ruth Tam reported yesterday, Paul is among those leading the effort to make sure they go without:

In what tea party groups are calling a "battle to save America from the Obamacare 'train wreck,'" Republican lawmakers plan to appear at a Capitol Hill rally on Sept. 10 to promote a proposal to defund the Affordable Care Act.
Republican senators Rand Paul (Ky.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) will headline the "Exempt America Tour" rally on the West Lawn as a culmination of a five-day tour of six states. The tour, which will kick off in Kentucky on Tuesday, is sponsored by seven tea party groups, including Tea Party Patriots and For America.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, Kentucky has the 45th ranked state health care system in the nation. The state has roughly 640,000 uninsured residents, a figure which will be cut in half after the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As Democratic Governor Steve Beshear explained to his Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and the audience at the Kentucky State Fair:

"Trust me, you know many of those 640,000 people. You're friends with them. You're probably related to them. Some may be your sons and daughters. You go to church with them. Shop with them. Help them harvest their fields. Sit in the stands with them as you watch your kids play football or basketball or ride a horse in competition. Heck, you may even be one of them."

And Doctor Paul may soon be hearing from one of them, an ardent foe of the Affordable Care Act turned supporter once he realized how the dreaded Obamacare would actually help him. As Huffington Post documented at the same Kentucky State Fair:

A middle-aged man in a red golf shirt shuffles up to a small folding table with gold trim, in a booth adorned with a flotilla of helium balloons, where government workers at the Kentucky State Fair are hawking the virtues of Kynect, the state's health benefit exchange established by Obamacare.
The man is impressed. "This beats Obamacare I hope," he mutters to one of the workers.
"Do I burst his bubble?" wonders Reina Diaz-Dempsey, overseeing the operation. She doesn't. If he signs up, it's a win-win, whether he knows he's been ensnared by Obamacare or not.

As it turns out, Dr. Rand Paul wants to burst his bubble. After all, Paul doesn't merely want to defund and repeal Obamacare. Despite the facts that half his income as a physician came from Medicare and Medicaid and that 800,000 Kentuckians benefit from it, Doctor Paul called Medicaid "intergenerational welfare."
Doctor Rand Paul's message to the 50 million uninsured people in America is a simple one. Health care for a few should depend on the kindness of strangers.


About

Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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