Ben Carson on Health Care

Tea Party challenger in Republican primary


There's a strong connection between health and housing

Carson noted that a connection between health and housing would be a key focal point of HUD under his leadership. In his opening statement, he said, "There is a strong connection between housing and health, which is of course my background. Substandard housing conditions such as pest infestation, the presence of lead paint, faulty plumbing, and overcrowding, which disproportionately affect low-income and minority families, lead to health problems such as asthma, lead poisoning, heart disease, and neurological disorders. I can tell you that lead poisoning irreversibly affects brain and nervous system development, resulting in lower intelligence and reading disabilities. I am passionate about health as you may have guessed, and where one lives should not cause health problems. So I look forward to working with HUD's Safe and Healthy Homes program and others on these issues. We cannot have social mobility without a strong healthy foundation in the home."
Source: Ballotpedia.org: 2017 Trump transition confirmation hearings , Jan 13, 2017

Health empowerment accounts for families

I propose a system in which we use health empowerment accounts, which are like a health savings account with no bureaucrats. We give it to everybody from birth until death. They can pass it on when they die. We pay for it with the same dollars that we pay for traditional healthcare with. We give people the ability to shift money within their account within their family. So dad's $500 short, mom can give it to him.
Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

Health empowerment account for all on the day you're born

Q: You have said that Obamacare should be replaced before it's repealed. How and why?

CARSON: You have to replace it with something that makes sense. I have proposed a health empowerment account system. Everybody gets a health empowerment account the day they are born; they keep it until they die. They can pass it on. We pay for it with the same dollars that we pay for traditional health care with, recognizing that we spend twice as much as many countries per capita and health care and don't have as such access. We give people the ability to shift money within their health empowerment account so that each family basically becomes its own insurance company without a middleman; that saves you an awful lot of money. And that will lower the cost of your catastrophic insurance tremendously, because the only thing coming out of that is catastrophic health care. And then in terms of taking care of the indigent, we have another whole system; go to my website bencarson.com and read about it.

Source: 2016 ABC Republican debate on eve of N.H. primary , Feb 6, 2016

I don't want to end Medicare, just make it more efficient

The liberal media is claiming I want to 'abolish' Medicare; that is plain laughable. That's just a narrative that somebody's putting out there to scare people. But I do believe that there should be an alternative. So, instead of our money going into the inefficient system that it goes in now, it can be divvied up into your family's health savings account so you have complete control and ability to contribute more than your employer. The same dollars that would be going to you through Medicare would go into your health savings account, unless of course you choose to opt-in to Medicare, which will still be on the table. I think seniors will see that the alternative we're going to outline is so much better than Medicare, and they will flock to it.
Source: Politico.com on 2015 presidential hopefuls , Nov 4, 2015

Give people the option to opt out of Medicare

The plan gives people the option of opting out. The annual Medicare budget is over $600 billion. And there are 48 million people involved. Divide that out. That comes out to $12,500 for each one. There are a lot of private-sector things that you could do with $12,500. That's a theme of a lot of the things that I'm talking about. How do we utilize our intellect rather than allowing the government to use its, quote, "intellect," in order to help us to be able to live healthier and better lives?
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Health savings accounts for families to buy health care

Q: Would you end Medicare?

CARSON: No, that's false. I have outlined using health savings accounts, which eliminate the need for people to be dependent on government programs. The plan for funding the health savings accounts is using the same dollars that we use for traditional healthcare and then the government comes in with Medicaid for the indigent.

Q: How does the health savings account work if there's no government subsidy?

CARSON: With the indigent people, $5,000 goes to each man, woman and child.˙What could you buy with that? A concierge practice generally costs $2,000-$3,000 a year and if you're a regular person you already get some health benefits. So, instead of that money going into the inefficient system that it goes in now, it gets divided into your family's health savings account over which you now have control.

Q: Doesn't that mean there's government money going into my health savings account?

CARSON: But not new government money.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 25, 2015

Replace need for Medicare with HSAs & catastrophic insurance

Q: You believe we should get rid of Medicare & replace it with a plan where government gives you $2,000 a year?

A: No. The system that I would put in place would largely negate the need for Medicare or Medicaid. I'm not talking about getting rid of those programs. We'll make health savings accounts available to people from the day that they are born to the day that they die, at which time they can pass it on to their family. We pay for it with the same dollars that we pay for our health care with. We give people the ability to shift money within their HSA within their family. If you're $500 short, your wife can give it to you out of hers. It gives you flexibility without a middleman. That'll take care of the largest number of incidents. It doesn't take care of catastrophic health care. But you can buy a catastrophic health care policy. And it's going to cost you a lot less because the only thing coming out of your catastrophic insurance is real catastrophic health care.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 25, 2015

Health Savings Accounts make insurance companies irrelevant

Q: You've said that we have to get rid of for-profit insurance companies. In your book, you wrote, "Essentially, all of the insurance companies would have to become non-profit service organizations with standardized regulated profit margins. How would you do that?

CARSON: I've subsequently switched over to a health savings account. You know, I was trying to work within the framework of what we have. But I've concluded that what we had simply did not work. And one of the reasons it didn't work is because insurance companies made profits by denying people care. And that, of course, is a total conflict of interest. But utilizing the health savings account system that I've talked about more recently, I think,

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz , Oct 18, 2015

Health Savings Accounts make Medicaid less relevant

Q: You support HSAs, health savings accounts; how would they affect Medicaid?

CARSON: The annual Medicaid budget is $400 billion to $500 billion a year. We have about 80 million people participating; that's $5,000 each. Most concierge practices charge $2,000 to $3,000 a year. And then you still have thousands left over for your catastrophic insurance, which is much cheaper now since everything is coming out of your HSA. And the interesting thing is people say poor people wouldn't be able to manage a health savings account. Of course they would be able to manage it.

Q: But those health savings accounts are only $2,000 a person. That's a fraction of what the cost of an average family's health insurance.

CARSON: Well, the $2,000 figure was when I was thinking about the government funding it. But I've subsequently decided the better thing to do is to allow it to be funded through the same channels that regular health care is funded through. The money is already there, so why change that?

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz , Oct 18, 2015

ObamaCare flies in the face of principles of America

Q: As a doctor, isn't the preventative care aspect of ObamaCare important?

CARSON: The reason that I don't like the so-called Affordable Care Act is not because it doesn't work, and not because it's not affordable, but because it flies in the face of the very principles of the establishment of this country. This country was supposed to be of, for and by the people, with the government there to facilitate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. With that Act, the government comes along and says, "I don't care what you people think. This is what we're doing. We're cramming it down your throat. And if you don't like it, too bad." Well that is antithetical to the whole concept of the people being at the pinnacle and the government there to serve it. It flips that relationship and puts the government in the driver's seat. And if they can do that with the most important thing you have, your health, it's not long before they can do it with every aspect of your life.

Source: Carson speech at National Press Club , Oct 9, 2015

Vaccines never caused autism; vaccination is important

Q: A backlash against vaccines was blamed for a measles outbreak. Donald Trump has publicly & repeatedly linked autism to childhood vaccines. Your opinion?

CARSON: Numerous studies have not demonstrated any correlation between vaccinations and autism. This was something that was spread widely 15 or 20 years ago, and it has not been adequately revealed to the public what's actually going on. Vaccines are very important. Certain ones. The ones that would prevent death or crippling. There are a multitude of vaccines which probably don't fit in that category, and there should be some discretion in those cases. But, you know, a lot of this is pushed by big government.

Q: Should Trump stop saying that vaccines cause autism?

CARSON: Well, I think he's an intelligent man and will make the correct decision after getting the real facts.

TRUMP: Autism has become an epidemic. I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

ObamaCare is analogous to slavery

Q: You said, "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." Is ObamaCare the worst thing since slavery?

Carson: ObamaCare fundamentally changes the relationship between the people and the government. The government is supposed to respond to the will of the people. Not dictate to the people what they are doing. And with this program, we're allowing that whole paradigm to be switched around.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 10, 2015

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 on 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

Ban Ebola-infected people from entry; treat them elsewhere

As the Ebola infection rate and death toll continue to rise rapidly on the African continent, many of us have become complacent with the measures we have taken to protect Americans from this deadly disease. The Centers for Disease Control and various infectious-disease specialists have done a yeoman's job in their efforts to prevent infected individuals in our country from contaminating others. They have put excellent protocols in place that would virtually guarantee complete safety. Unfortunately, all of those valiant efforts cannot preclude human error, which remains an ever-present danger, regardless of intellect.

For this reason, I and many others are not comfortable with the idea of bringing infected individuals into our midst when we can readily treat them elsewhere and happily receive them back once the infectious danger has passed. I have no desire to induce panic, but we must realize that some viruses are known to undergo mutations that make them even more virulent.

Source: WorldNetDaily OpEd by Carson, for 2016 Trump transition , Oct 7, 2014

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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