At the fifth GOP debate this week, moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul, a doctor, whether someone who opts to not buy health insurance and then gets sick should be allowed to die. The crowd responded with startling shouts of "Yeah!" followed by applause, leaving even Rick Perry "taken aback." Paul's answer, while more gentle, was more or less the same. "That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody ... " said Paul, who was cut off by clapping from the audience. While you wouldn't know it from his answer, Blizter's hypothetical probably hit close to home for Paul, whose campaign manager Kent Snyder died young of pneumonia — without insurance — in 2008.
He was just 49 years old when he died of complications from the virus on June 26, two weeks after Paul dropped out of the race. Snyder's mother was left with around $400,000 in medical costs. Paul supporters set up a donation fund to help with the debt.
Snyder was credited as "the driving force behind Ron Paul's presidential bid" in the last election, having turned "his one-man operation into a national grass-roots phenomenon that now calls itself 'The Freedom Movement.'"
That same freedom, which Paul referred to in the debate, complicated Snyder's health problems, as a preexisting condition made insurance premiums too expensive, according to Snyder's sister. After Snyder's death, Paul wrote on his website: "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."
2008 Flashback: Ron Paul';s campaign manager dies of pneumonia, uninsured, leaving family $400,000 debt [Political Carnival via Gawker]
His Efforts Fueled Ron Paul's Campaign [WSJ]
Kent Snyder: A true lover of liberty [Red Pills]