Ben Carson cites alternative to Obamacare at National Prayer Breakfast


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.

Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson

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.

[Click HERE to see most-recent stories on problems related to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.]


“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.”


Please scroll to 1:25 in the first video to see/hear health reform remarks during Dr. Carson’s 30-minute speech.

27 Responses

  1. Karl Roberts, Ph.D. Says:

    I now have even greater respect for Dr. Carson. Thank you for making sensible suggestions in the face of the one responsible for the largest tax increase in the history of this nation. Please run for President. You’ll have my support regardless of your political affiliation. We can no longer tolerate attacks upon the health and well being o f the people of our great nation. We need bright and responsible individuals to take the lead and do what is right rather than politically expedient. We can have affordable health care, but not at such a cost through such draconian measures. You renew my faith in the American dream.

  2. Bill Livinez Says:

    Sounds to me like Dr Carson is more interested in maintaining his life style and minimizing his taxes than he is in making health care affordable for everyone.
    Here is why his idea will not work. When I was a child born in 1950 all of my health care was taken care of by the insurance that was purchased by my mothers’ employer. The coverage was affordable with a deductible that was affordable to all. As an adult in my chosen profession everyone is a contractor. Even though I always had an employer none of those employers chose to take care of their employees. In today’s insurance market there is a total disconnect between what a self employed person can afford and what doctors charge for procedures. At my age today you pay for your insurance which is quite expensive then you pay for an additional $10,000 in co insurance each year. No matter how many dollars my parents put into an HSA in 1955 dollars I would still be paying a huge portion of my current earnings toward health care.

    10% flat tax. I guess he would like that. I would like a 10% flat tax. The only problem is the government could not function on the revenue.

    Sounds to me like the President’s people should have vetted his speaker better.

  3. Lajuan Sparrowhawk Says:

    Dr. Carson delivered a simple, clear solution to our problem. Needless to say, his method would NOT need over 200 pages of jibber jabber to explain. I have been an admirer of Dr. Carson since my 22 year old daughter did a paper on him when she was in Elememtary School. He is a man to be admired and I too, like Dr. Roberts in his post, would vote for him for our President. Too bad we will have to wait 4 years! God bless you Dr. Carson.

  4. Heather Says:

    Bill, Dr. Carson’s idea would work perfectly because if everyone was using their own money from an HSA to pay for medical care, prices would drop drastically. It’s because of insurance that people don’t care whether they go to the ER or the clinic, even though the clinic is cheaper. Why should they care – the insurance pays for it! If you had to pay from an HSA, you would make cost comparisons and the free market would do it’s magic and prices would drop. WHen they did, insurance prices (if you still had coverage for catastrophic things) would come down too.

  5. Heather Says:

    PS. The government could function fine on a 10 percent flat tax if it stopped spending money it shouldn’t be spending in the first place…ie, on healthcare.

  6. Jay Says:

    Brilliant man, And we hope Pres Obama was listening.

  7. Ron Black Says:

    DR. Carson is correct in everything he suggested. I have felt a flat tax is the best way to have the Federal Government operate with excess monies. No loopholes,10% tax on your gross income. As for the HSA this makes sense just like parents and grandparents do when they purchase life insurance on a child or start saving for college. Obama Care is going to push us deeper in debt. Ask yourself, why should the Congress,Executive Branch and all Federal Employees be exempt from the new Obamacare. Why should unions be exempt from Obamacare. I am tired of the double standards that exist for taxpayers.Congress always looks out for themselves first. And lastly I am glad the President was uncomfortable with his remarks

  8. Bob Says:

    This sounds like a workable alternative to central control. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of a meaningful discussion. It is an opportunity to put the control of our health care in the hands of each individual.

  9. Kevin Says:

    If you ever run for office Dr. Carson you have my vote! BRAVO SIR!

  10. jscottu Says:

    Obama won the election which proves he is a good politician. Dr. Carson has a much better idea than Obamacare which proves he is a smart man and would make a great leader.

  11. Daylon Says:

    It is truly sad that “REAL” like Dr. Carson. Seems to be weeded out of the politician by greed and selfishness.Excellent idea Doc now lets get it on the books and knock that( greedy, forked tongue that appears to have a very strong hold on Mr. President)out of the rink once and for all! PEACE ON EARTH & GOODWILL TO ALL OF MANKIND,”AMEN”

  12. Daniel Says:

    As someone who has worked 100% of the time in the private sector, and the latter half of it in the Healthcare delivery industry, I agree 100% with the brilliant and articulate Dr. Carson – only wish he had been more vocal and influencial back in 2008-2009, so that Obamacare could have been avoided and replaced with something that improved coverage for the truly indigent and left the system alone for the majority that were happy with it. Now I’m afraid it’s too late to avoid the destruction of not only the private health insurance market but also the serious deterioration in quality of medical care for all, through diversion of massive resources towards a new centralized administrative bureaucracy, and cronic shortages of doctors and nurses brought about by this very flawed law we’re all forced to live under – unless of course, people leave aside ideology and continue to demand the defunding and repeal of the flawed law, and replace it with something healthier for everyone…

  13. Ed Says:

    The good doctor was to deaf ears, because Barry is not for a solution to reform healthcare. His intentions is crash it inorder to nationalize it, and then rationalize it. Barry doesn’t want to address suggestions from his subjects. It’s the same reason he hires dopes in his cabinet. We are dealing with the most erragant president since FDR, and the lefty media along with his subjects are living their eutopian dream. Meanwhile, the rest are going to have to endure this Socialist nightmare.

  14. Abe Dumanis Says:

    As a Doctor who had very good experience working under the socilaistic rationed structure of the healthcare, which undervalues the individual heath making it the “national treasure”, which means everybodies/nobodies value, I can testify that the whole idea of the nationalising the health creats only corrupted mentalities both in the patients and providers. Patients stop be responsible for their problems, blame the doctors. The Doctors,in turn are limitesd in their means by the system of rationing. Both start looking for now illegal ways to provide better care.
    Is that what americans are looking forward too?!

  15. Bill Says:

    For many of us who make under $50k and do not have employer supplied medical care the current system does not work. It is unaffordable. Medical care should not cost 20%+ of your income. We have the most expensive but not the best. The system needs change.

  16. bob Says:

    Figures Obama wouldn’t shake his hand after the speech

  17. Charles Butler Says:

    From these comments you can tell those of us with a an education, a job, and experience. I have known Ben Carson since our days at U of M. He is a very thoughtful, intelligent man and a great American. Ben and my sister chose to save lives, I graduated from U of M as a young Ensign and serve my country in the USN. I also know Barack and Michelle Obama both of whom are selfish and mean spirited people. Barack is a lazy, opportunistic, ego maniac, who doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Michelle took healthcare from poor people in Chicago for profit of the U of Chicago Hospital. Please go Google the following– Obama, Kenwood killings, Michelle Obama takes healthcare from Chicago poor. Read the credible sources not the loonies. The American people do not know the Obama’s they are not good people, they are socialistic and political elites that have never held real jobs even as graduates of Ivy League law schools.

  18. Abe Dumanis Says:

    Bill, what made the healthcare overly expensive?
    These were not the Doctors, who invested years of their lifes and finances in their education. Improvements can definitly be made, like stressing more medical ethics then comercialised medicine, cleaning up by the Medical Boards of the ballast, which do not belong to profession, technological improvements like suggested by cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol, etc.
    What indeed made the healthcare expensive were the fraudulently abused bureaucratic systems of Madicare and Medicade on one side and the private insurances on the other side. Thirdly, the system of frivolous lawsuits against the Doctors without any reciprocation to the false accusations, which in turn caused absolutely unjustified premiums for malpractice insurance polices. All those 3-rd, 4-th, etc. parties have nothing to do with providing the healthcare for the patients, they just live off the relations between the patients and doctors. All those parasitic parties can be elliminated by Dr. Ben Carsons alternative to Obamacare.

  19. Kimberly Says:

    Hat’s off to Dr. Carson! I have been a huge fan and admirer of his work. After hearing his remarks, I have even greater respect for him! I met him at Johns Hopkins when my son was hospitalized. (He was not my son’s physician) He is not someone who just offered “advice” without giving thoughtful consideration to both the medical and business side of things… I’ve worked in healthcare for 23 years now, and fully understand that he has offered a viable solution to our healthcare crisis in America. Love that Dr. carson!

  20. Jim Says:

    Yeah, hats off to Dr. Carson for proposing a Fox News talking-point that will dramatically reduce his own tax bill at the expense of government solvency and the poor. How generous and selfless of him to propose an even more regressive tax measure than we already have for his own benefit and that of his cronies!

  21. David Says:

    @Jim…are you really going to go down the “Fox News” road? A flat tax is actually a way to make sure everyone pays “their fair share”. If a person earns $3M and has to pay $300K in taxes, that is a pretty large amount. If a person earns $50K and pays $5K in taxes, that is also a pretty large amount. The interesting thing is that both people had to pay 10% in taxes. Would I like to be the person making $3M annually…you bet your ass. Should they have to cover more of the expenses that are due to waste…No! If a government due to expansion cannot stay within a budget, then just like in private sector business, they should have to reduce it’s size and become more efficient. Government does not create anything…other than debt.

  22. ellen Says:

    No doubt the ACA is a bureaucratic mess! I agree that there needs to be a solution to meeting the health care needs of the uninsured; however, believe it or not, most of the uninsured are so by choice. That is not a random comment, I work in the industry…and, it doesn’t mean that the uninsured don’t have very real and legitimate needs. The HSA solution to which Dr. Carson refers is an incredibly valuable tool…like a medical IRA and, tweaked, the idea seems very viable for the uninsured/under-insured, as well as for current employer-sponsored and individual market plans. I like it, Dr. Carson! Keep those ideas coming…you have a voice!

  23. Bill Says:

    “Government creates nothing but debt”. That is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Who put a man on the moon? Who built the interstate hwy system. Who protects us from irresponsible corporations? Who protects us from outlaw nations and individuals?
    Don’t make stupid statements in a public forum. It only shows your ignorance.

  24. Bob G. Says:

    “That is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard.”

    Ah yes, the “You didn’t build that” argument that states the belief that that government is the creater and the driving force behind all social and economic “progress”, there to serve the government, and need to thank their good fortune that the government is working hard wasting money………ummmm, working hard to “make life better” for the helpless populace.

    Good thinking, Bill.

  25. Jeff E. Says:

    Yes, the Federal Government could function on 10% if it were downsized to only it’s constitutionally required activities. Did you know that the first income tax was only 2%, and the government ran fine on it? This was 100 years ago. If we had lived back then, then took a time machine forward to today, we would be shocked at how large our government has grown itself, how high the income tax is, and how expensive government is.

  26. Jay Harris Says:

    If Dr. Carson’s plan is so good, where was he for umpteen years, and especially during the last 6 years? If it is so good, sit down and talk to the President about it. The GOP waited too long and no one trusted them to work on solutions, only repeals. I have no respect for someone who wants me to support their effort in repealing Obamacare, yet they are not repealing their own wonderful health insurance. And, as stated before they are not trying to find any solutions. Too late now! Oh, by the way, I have not heard one person in Massachusetts say that they want their health insurance repealed. If “socialized” medicine is good for one state, it can be good for the other 49. This is the UNITED States of America. Mitt should not have been a noodle and run away from something good that he did. Oh, one other thing, the GOP thought the Affordable Health Act was a good and workable plan until Obama said, “Let’s go for it”

  27. Stacy b Says:

    Looks nice on paper….in theory. But it’s not going to work. I’ve had these accounts before just to help with getting through the deductibles until insurance fully kicked in. Even these accounts had lots of restrictions. …things they wouldn’t pay for. Just like insurance companies do. Plus what if you don’t make enough money to pay your bills, buy your food, etc, and put a decent amount into these accounts? That’s right.. you’re screwed. Cuz no matter how much is put in there…it’ll never pay what is charged. And prices will never drop. i never see that happening. What about the disabled? I am disabled. I CAN work at certain things. Took me YEARS to find a job. I was like 27. Found better one 2 years later. Worked there 5 faithful years until I was laid off due to “cutbacks”. Haven’t found a damn job yet. Seems companies don’t like disabled people. We have to ride buses and our mild seizures at work must embarrass them. So what about us?? Again…we are screwed. When I had insurance Obamacare fu*ked it all up. It needs to go. But this isn’t the answer either. He’s got some other great ideas. Not this one

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