At his keynote speech at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson laid out some ideas he had for improving health care in the United States of America. Seated to his right was the president of the United States, who appeared to not care much for the good doctor's market-oriented idea of tax-free Health Savings Accounts. [h/t email tipster Brian Plunkett for bringing this to my attention]
The Insurance & Financial Advisor website has more details (emphases mine; video embedded below):
During his remarks, Carson came up with several solutions to some of America’s most pressing problems, including focusing on the importance of education.
Carson also touched on the economy, saying that he thinks about the issue frequently. “We don’t want to go down the path of many failed nations,” he said, pointing out what he says is “fiscal irresponsibility” in our government.
He seemed to offer the idea of a flat 10% income tax, which would prevent many successful people from taxing their money oversees [sic]. He cited “602 banks in the Cayman Islands” created as havens for those seeking to escape high taxes.
“That money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs,” he said.
Carson’s remarks regarding what appeared to be his alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) appeared to make the president uncomfortable at times, with Obama looking down and away as Carson began to describe specific suggestions.
ACA is President Obama’s landmark health reform legislation that was passed in 2010. Carson has spoken openly in the past about alternatives to the law.
“We spend a lot of money on health care, twice as much per capita as anyone else in the world, and yet not very efficient. What can we do?” Carson asked rhetorically. “Here’s my solution. When a person is born, give them a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account [HSA] to which money can be contributed pre-tax from the time you’re born to the time you die.”
Carson went on to say that accounts should be passed on to family members, so “there’s nobody talking about death panels,” in an obvious reference to the much debated “panels” discussed during negotiations and after passage of ACA.
Regarding those who cannot afford health insurance, Carson suggested, “We can make contributions to their HSA each month,” he said, adding, “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.”
Although Dr. Carson is a devout Christian, it appears there were no remarks made by Dr. Carson that were critical of the president's contraception mandate. That being said, it is gutsy to offer comments in a public forum which don't square with the president's left-wing agenda on health care, even though Carson did so respectfully and without any partisan invective.
All the same, don't expect the media to note Carson's ideas, which are fundamentally about empowering the individual and not the government.