Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul said during a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing Wednesday that those who believe in a right to health care actually believe in slavery.
“With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies,” the senator said. “It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me.”
“It means you believe in slavery,” Paul added. “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.”
His father, Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, announced an exploratory committee for his third presidential bid last month. Both congressmen have strong libertarian views and are popular among the tea party movement.
“Basically, once you imply a belief in a right to someone’s services — do you have a right to plumbing? Do you have a right to water? Do you have right to food? — you’re basically saying you believe in slavery.”
“I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to health care,” Paul continued. “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 health care would be.”
Self-described democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of the Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging, responded to Paul’s rant by asking witness Dana Kraus, a family physician at a federally qualified health center, if she considered herself “a slave.”
“I love my job,” she answered. “I chose to work there. I do not consider myself a slave. Thank you.”
Sanders and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced federal single payer legislation Tuesday that would ensure that states implement Medicare-like systems for all residents.