WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson unveiled his agenda to reform the American health care system Wednesday.
What does the renowned pediatric neurosurgeon have to offer to the debate? First and most importantly, this magnificent photo on the cover of his plan.
Prescriptions, empowerment, healing, inspiration and revival are things anyone can get behind!
There's some other stuff, too. Carson would repeal Obamacare (natch) because of problems with the Affordable Care Act, like it doesn't have enough freedom in it. He also would sort-of-but-not-really get rid of Medicare and Medicaid, at least in the sense that those programs have always been understood.
The centerpiece of Carson's vision for the future of American health care is what he calls Health Empowerment Accounts, which seem a lot like the already existing health savings accounts that people -- even ones on Obamacare! -- can use to sock away cash tax-free for future health expenses. Also like health savings accounts, Carson's Health Empowerment Accounts would be paired with high-deductible health insurance plans. Everyone would get a Health Empowerment Account when they get Social Security numbers, which make them different from health savings accounts.
Based on a close reading of the document released by Carson's campaign, Health Empowerment Accounts also would seem to feature more Empowerment than the health savings accounts available on the market today.
So in place of Obamacare, which includes all sorts of rules about who health insurance companies have to sell policies to (everyone) and what kinds of benefits they have to cover (lots 0f them), Carson's plan would allow people to open tax-free savings accounts (which they already can) to put away money (which they probably don't have) to pay for medical care until their insurance deductible is met (which it probably won't be).
Medicare beneficiaries also would gain access to more liberty under Carson's plan, which would free (force) people to wait until they're 70 get on the program, cap the amount the government pays for the their coverage and leave them liberated to pay the difference. They, too, would gain the inalienable right to have a Health Empowerment Account they can put money into if they have any money.
Carson doesn't forget about Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for the poor. The federal government would patriotically limit its funding to states, permit poor people to buy the same unregulated health insurance plans as their wealthier neighbors and compassionately throw them a little money to put in Health Empowerment Accounts they can try to use for the stuff their new insurance won't cover.
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