As it turned out, Wolf Blitzer's question to Ron Paul wasn't hypothetical at all.
Back in 2008, Kent Snyder — Paul's former campaign chairman — died of complications from pneumonia. Like the man in Blitzer's example, the 49-year-old Snyder ... SNIP ... was relatively young and seemingly healthy* when the illness struck. He was also uninsured. When he died on June 26, 2008, two weeks after Paul withdrew his first bid for the presidency, his hospital costs amounted to $400,000. The bill was handed to Snyder's surviving mother ... SNIP ... who was incapable of paying. Friends launched a website to solicit donations.
According to the Wall Street Journal's 2008 story on his death, Snyder was more than just a strategic ally: He was the only reason Paul thought he ever had a shot at the presidency in the first place.
Snyder experienced Paul’s world of free market health care, a peculiar system that distinguishes the United States as the only Western country that does not provide basic care to its citizens. A look back at the charity effort launched to save Snyder’s life reveals a grim failure. Despite Paul’s insistence that charity is the appropriate response to America’s uninsured crisis, Snyder’s friends raised $34,870.53, far short of the $400,000 necessary to pay off his bills.
Is this a failure of the churches, Ron? Should we blame the various religious folks of Texas for not taking care of Mr. Snyder? Can we expect a press release excoriating the Southern Baptist Convention for not saving your friend and adviser?
Consider this, Rep. Paul. Pneumonia is almost always treatable with antibiotics if caught early. The reason that Mr. Snyder ran up $400,000 in bills was that he did not have insurance, did not go to the doctor in the early stages of the disease, and the infection progressed to the point of being untreatable.
In this case, as in many, many, many others, an insured person costs far less to treat than an uninsured one. Providing medical insurance is cost-effective. Your adherence to the free-market is costing us lives and costing us money and gaining us nothing except a smug feeling that "at least we aren't socialists!".
Better dead than red, Ron?
9:29 AM PT: Kent Snyder had no insurance because he had a pre-existing condition which made insurance unaffordable.