At the National Prayer Breakfast, broadcast live on C-SPAN2, Dr. Ben Carson said he didn’t want to “offend” anyone, but his words nonetheless were likely to have made one distinguished guest in attendance – President Barack Obama – squirm in his seat.
Carson is director of the pediatric neurosurgery division at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. His inspiring story of growing up the son of an illiterate, single black woman to becoming one of America’s most esteemed doctors has been detailed in the book “Gifted Hands” and the movie of the same name.
At Thursday’s prayer breakfast, Carson took aim at a number of topics that may have caused the man seated two chairs to his right a bit of indigestion, including class-warfare economics.
“Some people say, they say, ‘Well, that’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made 10,’” Carson said. “[But] where does it say you have to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot!
“We don’t need to hurt him,” Carson continued. “It’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here, building our infrastructure and creating jobs.”
On his top-rated radio program, host Rush Limbaugh praised Carson’s speech as “plain English, simple, rational, understandable, straight to the point, minces no words.”
“He’s basically saying, ‘Obama, you keep talking wanting to hurt people who’ve already put money in the bank. You hurt the producers. No wonder they take money out of the country,’” Limbaugh summarized.
Carson further took aim at the swelling national debt, increasing bureaucracy and political correctness, which he called “dangerous” because it “muzzles” people and “keeps people from discussing important issues while the fabric of their society is being changed.”
But it was Carson’s proposal for health-care reform – a completely antithetical approach to the president’s massive health-care overhaul program – that Limbaugh said gave him “a tingly feeling” up his leg.
“Here’s my solution,” Dr. Carson said of America’s health-care woes. “When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account [or HSA] 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,” Carson continued, “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.”
“Dr. Carson said the one thing that Obama and the Democrats do not want to hear,” Limbaugh explained. “In this case, we have an ideal replacement for Obamacare that is much better, that promotes the health-care industry, that promotes cost savings, that promotes competition and it gets everybody covered.”
Limbaugh further explained how the finances of Carson’s plan would work: “Eighteen percent of our GDP is health-care spending, and frankly I thought it was higher than that. The federal government currently spends almost 6 percent of GDP on health care. So a third of all health-care spending is by government and growing. So what Dr. Carson’s plan says is, just take that money that’s already in the health-care system that’s coming out of your pocket in form of taxes – Medicare tax, Medicaid tax, income tax, all that – and you keep it instead of sending it to Washington.
“We’re already spending this money: We’re giving it to the government. For what?” Limbaugh asked. “Let’s keep it in the hands of people who earned it or who are going to spend it. It’s their money. Let’s not send it to Washington. I’ll tell you the simple rationality of all of this is just profound, folks. It’s just profound.
“A guy comes along in 43 seconds and sets out a position based on our principles of individual responsibility and free markets that is a logical solution that makes total sense to everybody who hears it,” Limbaugh concluded. “It’s actually encouraging. Talk about a tingly feeling up your leg. I got it from Dr. Benjamin Carson.”
Video of Dr. Carson’s entire speech can be seen below: