Dr. Ben Carson, the noted Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon often cited as the world’s most gifted pediatric neurosurgeon, shared the stage with President Obama today at the National Prayer Breakfast, making remarks and suggestions that appeared to be alternatives to the president’s national health reform law and solutions to encourage economic growth.
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 the U.S. government.
[Scroll down for video clips.]
He seemed to offer the idea of a flat 10% income tax, which would prevent many successful people from taxing their money oversees. 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 HSAs chould be passed on to surviving family members, so “there’s nobody talking about death panels,” in an obvious reference to the controversial “death 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.”
[See related story: HSA and HRA plans show renewed growth, according to study]
Carson closed his suggestions, stating that while the issue of making health care affordable and insuring those who cannot afford it is complex, “That’s how we begin to solve these kinds of problems.”
The first video clip below shows Dr. Carson’s two-minute remarks on health reform. The second video is of the speeches by both Dr. Carson and President Obama.