Ben Carson on Health Care


Obamacare is about restriction and control

Ben Carson was the first speaker at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Carson spent much of his 12-minute address ripping President Obama's Affordable Care Act as well as other federal entitlement programs, telling the crowd that "Obamacare is about restriction and control."

"Everything that these programs were supposed to fix has gotten worse," he said.

Carson went on to briefly touch on a series of ideas that are typically well-received among conservatives, including trimming the national debt and reducing the size of government. "One of the things that is going to destroy us as a nation is our debt," he said, as several members of the audience yelled "yes" in support. "The size of our government needs to be going down and the debt needs to be going down."

Source: N. Y. Daily News: 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 26, 2015

Vaccines are extremely important, despite individual rights

Ben Carson strongly backed vaccinations, splitting from two possible rivals who suggested parents should decide whether to immunize their children: "Although I strongly believe in individual rights and the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, I also recognize that public health and public safety are extremely important in our society," Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, told The Hill in a statement.

"Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them," he added.

Carson's comments came amid a contentious political debate over vaccinations, spurred by an outbreak of measles. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul both came under fire for saying it should be up to parents whether to vaccinate their children.

Source: The Hill 2015 weblog on 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 2, 2015

Spokesperson for Mannatech nutrition supplement for 10 years

In March 2015, Carson appeared in a video for Mannatech, a Texas-based medical supplement maker [saying], "Mannatech recognizes that when God made us, He gave us the right fuel: the right kind of healthy food. Sometimes we have to alter our diet to fit our lifestyle. Basically what the company is doing is to restore natural diet as a medicine or as a mechanism for maintaining health."

Carson's interactions with Mannatech date back to 2004. Mannatech was started when Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which greatly loosened restrictions on how supplement makers could market their products. In 2007, Texas charged Mannatech with an unlawful marketing scheme that exaggerated health benefits. In 2009, Texas reached an agreement: Mannatech paid $4 million in restitution to customers while admitting no wrongdoing, and was prohibited from saying that their products can cure disease. Yet Carson's interactions with the company continued for five more years.

Source: National Review 2015 OpEd on 2016 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 12, 2015

ObamaCare robs you of your ability to control your own life.

Q: Here's one of the things you said about the Affordable Care Act that raised a lot of eyebrows. I'll play it.

DR. BEN CARSON (ON TAPE): Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it was never about health care, it was about control.

Q: People who have health care now who didn't have it before, I suspect would disagree strongly.

CARSON: Recognize what I said, "in a way." In a way, anything is slavery that robs you of your ability to control your own life. And when you take the most important thing that you have, which is your health care, and you put that in the hands of government bureaucrats, I think you have done the wrong thing. This is not what America is about. Do I believe in health care for everybody? Absolutely. But I think there are much better ways to get there, which leave the care in the hands of patients and of doctors.

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 18, 2014

ObamaCare is the worst thing since slavery

Q: Let me just raise this issue about ObamaCare, because I want to come back to that. One of the issues is that for conservatives, this has been such a huge issue, even though the law's been passed and upheld by the court, they still argue, "No, there's a basis to really try to make it better, to replace it, to get rid of it." And then you had Dr. Ben Carson; this is what he said on Friday:

(VIDEO) BEN CARSON: I have to tell you, ObamaCare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way.(END VIDEO)

Sen. ROB PORTMAN: Well, he's a doctor who feels passionately about this issue, obviously.

Source: Meet the Press 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 13, 2013

Health savings account from birth; teach poor responsibility

Carson's idea for health-care reform is Washingtonian. Instead of the technocratic behemoth of Obamacare, empower the individual. "When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health-savings account to which money can be contributed--pretax--from the time you're born till the time you die. If you die, you can pass it on to your family members . . . and there's nobody talking about death panels."

The beauty of Carson's argument exceeds its simplicity, particularly as even economist Paul Krugman now concedes that something like death panels are inevitable if we stay on our current path. Taxpayers, the rich, or charities can contribute extra money to the accounts of the poor (with everyone's account seeded at birth), but at the same time, Carson says, the poor will "have some control over their own health care. And very quickly they're going to learn how to be responsible."

Source: 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. in National Review , Feb 13, 2013

Fund HSAs for indigent from collected HSAs of the rest of us

Here's my solution [to replace ObamaCare]: When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health savings account to which money can be contributed--pretax--from the time you're born 'til the time you die. When you die, you can pass it on to your family members, so that when you're 85 years old and you got six diseases, you're not trying to spend up everything. You're happy to pass it on and there's nobody talking about death panels.

And also, for the people who were indigent who don't have any money we can make contributions to their HSA each month because we already have this huge pot of money. Instead of sending it to some bureaucracy, let's put it in their HSAs. Now they have some control over their own health care.

Source: Remarks at 2013 National Prayer Breakfast , Feb 7, 2013

Two-tiered system ok as long as care is adequate

Our 1st child, Murray, was born in Australia. The health-care system in Australia provides substantial benefits for its citizens, and when a baby is born, the family receives a "baby bonus." Although it was a two-tiered system, I did not witness much resentment by those receiving their basic care free of charge against those who could afford private insurance. There may be some substantial lessons that we can learn from such a system.

Everyone has different needs and we do not have to have a one-size-fits-all system. Because one person drives a Chevrolet and another drives a Mercedes, it doesn't automatically mean that the Chevrolet driver is deprived or needs some supplement. The fact is, he can get to the same place as a Mercedes driver with perhaps slightly less comfort. People have different medical needs and some can afford the Chevrolet plan while others can afford the Mercedes plan. We should leave it at that and not try to micromanage people's lives as long as the care is adequate

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.143-144 , Jan 24, 2012

Saudi Arabian solution: stiff penalties for medical fraud

Insurance companies would almost certainly object that some unscrupulous doctors would simply submit "evidence" that they had done two appendectomies instead of one.

There are very few physicians who would engage in fraud, but there certainly are some. However, the solution for dealing with those few is not to create a gigantic and expensive bureaucracy, but rather to apply what I term the "Saudi Arabian solution." Why don't people steal very often in Saudi Arabia? Because the punishment is amputation of one or more fingers. I would not advocate chopping off people's limbs, but there would be some very stiff penalties for this kind of fraud, such as loss of one's medical license for life, no less than 10 years in prison, and a loss of all of one's personal possessions. Not only would this be a gigantic deterrent to fraud, but to protect themselves every physician in practice would check every single bill quite thoroughly before submitting it, which would not be that difficult to do and document.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.145-146 , Jan 24, 2012

Regulate insurance companies as non-profit services

Today, insurance companies call the shots on what they want to pay, to whom, and when. Consequently, even busy doctors operate with a very slim profit of margin.

This is an ideal place for the intervention of government regulators who, with the help of medical professionals, could establish fair and consistent remuneration. To accomplish this, essentially all of the insurance companies would have to become non-profit service organizations with standardized, regulated profit margins.

This is not the paradigm that I see for all businesses, [but] is uniquely appropriate for the health-insurance industry, which deals with people's lives and quality of existence. That may sound radical, but is it as radical as allowing a company to increase its profits by denying care to sick individuals? In the long run this would also be good for the insurance companies, who could then concentrate on providing good service, rather than focusing on undercutting their competitors and increasing their profit margin.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.147-148 , Jan 24, 2012

Government responsibility for catastrophic coverage

There was a time when premature babies or babies with significant birth defects simply died, which cost the insurance company very little. Now, however, thanks to developments in medical technology, we're able to put such babies in incubators and treat them, usually saving their lives--but then we hand the insurance company a bill for $1 million. This kind of scenario, repeated on a regular basis, drove insurance companies to drastically increase their premiums.

One solution would be to remove from the insurance companies the responsibility for catastrophic health-care coverage, making it a government responsibility [like FEMA insures against hurricanes]. Clearly, if the health-care insurance companies did not have to cover catastrophic health care, it would be relatively easy by analyzing actuarial tables to determine how much money they are likely to be liable for each year. With this information at our disposal, health insurance companies could be regulated just as utilities are regulated.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.149-150 , Jan 24, 2012

Let paralyzed quadriplegics choose to die if they wish it

We are facing a time when we have to be pragmatic, while at the same time exercising compassion.

I remember a case of a prominent individual who had been in an automobile accident and was rendered a C-1 quadriplegic, which means not only was he paralyzed from the neck down, but he could not breathe without assistance. We could have made the decision to keep him alive at all costs, but through a unique system of communication that we were able to work out with him, he indicated that he wanted to die. After much debate, we yielded to his wishes and withdrew ventilator support. In the long run, I think our course of action was both compassionate and pragmatic. If we integrate compassion and logic into our decision-making processes, I am convinced that we will deal with newly emerging ethical dilemmas appropriately.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.151 , Jan 24, 2012

Suffered research cancer injection and prostate cancer

One day in the lab years ago, in the process of injecting cancer into a rabbit's brain, my hand slipped & I accidentally inoculated my own finger with the VX2 carcinoma. Within days, modules began to form on that finger, and another lesion began growing in my throat.

I happened to be reading "Back to Eden" about natural healing remedies and the medicinal properties of red clover tea. VX2 was a xenograph, from another species, so my own immune system would attack it, so anything that boosted my natural immune system might have been enough to do the job.

In the summer of 2002, I had my PSAs checked. I had prostate cancer; a very malignant and aggressive form. The various medical options were laid out; what caught my attention were glycol-proteins. Within a week my symptoms were completely resolved. But urologist [recommended immediate] surgery anyway, [which I did]. It turned out that the cancer was within one millimeter of metastasizing. If we had waited it would have been too late.

Source: Take the Risk, by Ben Carson, p.164-172 , Dec 25, 2007

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Page last updated: Aug 16, 2015