That's What Freedom Is All About: Ron Paul's Former Campaign Manager Had No Health Insurance, Got Sick And Died In Debt

This story says it all: conservatives really don't care about anyone who isn't rich. Even the people working for them. When Ron Paul was asked by Wolf Blitzer if a person should simply be left to die in his world view, the audience cheered and Paul gave a sickening response.

Gawker enlightens us with information about the man who helped Ron Paul make the plunge into presidential politics. A man Paul should owe a lot to and a man who lost his life in almost the same way that Blitzer described.

Ron Paul’s Campaign Manager Died of Pneumonia, Penniless and Uninsured

Should the state pay his bills? Paul responded, "That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody—"

He never quite finished that point, letting the audience's loud applause finish it for him. So Blitzer pressed on, asking if he meant that "society should just let him die," which earned a chilling round of approving hoots from the crowd. Paul would not concede that much outright, instead responding with a personal anecdote, the upshot being that in such a case, it was up to churches to care for the dying young man. So basically, yeah. He'd let him die. As it turns out, Paul was not speaking purely in hypotheticals. 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 (pictured) 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 (pictured, left), 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.

"It was Kent more than anyone else who encouraged and pushed Ron to run for president," said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Mr. Paul. "Ron would not have run for the presidency if it had not been for Kent. Ron was really hesitant, but Kent drove him forward."

And so, what started in February 2007 with one laptop in Snyder's Arlington, Va., apartment, quickly grew into a $35 million campaign employing 250 people. In the fourth quarter of that year, Snyder raised a stunning $19.5 million for Paul — more than any other Republican candidate had raised at the time.

After Snyder's death, Paul posted a message to the website for his Campaign for Liberty — a pre-Tea Party organization which served Paul as both presidential marketing tool and platform to promote his non-interventionist, free market ideals. He wrote:

"Like so many in our movement, Kent sacrificed much for the cause of liberty. Kent poured every ounce of his being into our fight for freedom. He will always hold a place in my heart and in the hearts of my family."

And that, friends, is what freedom is really all about.

*The Kansas City Star quoted his sister at the time as saying that a "a pre-existing condition made the premiums too expensive." [The Political Carnival, photo via Ron Paul's Flickr]

Think Progress adds:

On June 26, 2008, exactly two weeks after Paul ended his bid for the presidency, Synder passed away due to complications from his pneumonia. 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 his bills.

Politically correct news outlets covering health policy issues refuse to note that the far right and corporate lobbying effort to repeal health reform would restore America’s system where 45,000 Americans die every year because of lack of health coverage. Although CNN scorned politicians in previous years for suggesting that health reform saves lives, Blitzer’s question to Paul has actually forced a discussion of how politics affects every day lives, interrupting an otherwise vapid discussion of horse race presidential reporting.

Snyder played a leading hand in developing the “Tea Party” and “money bomb” fundraising efforts for the Paul campaign, a strategy that helped the candidate break small donor fundraising records. “It was Kent more than anyone else who encouraged and pushed Ron to run for president,” said Jesse Benton, a Paul spokesman in a Wall Street Journal piece about Snyder’s life.

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