Tags: Carson | healthcare | reform | Todd

Ben Carson on Saving America

By    |   Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 07:42 AM

Dr. Ben Carson, emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Newsmax Insider, appeared on C-SPAN's After Words program to talk about his new book, "One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future" with NBC's Chuck Todd.

Carson was director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital and the first to separate twins joined at the head. Todd is chief White House correspondent and political director for NBC News, as well as host of "The Daily Rundown" on MSNBC.

Carson has announced that he is exploring the possibility of a joining the Republican primary field for president in 2016, while Todd has made news by becoming the successor to David Gregory as host of the brand-name Sunday talk show Meet the Press. In a sense, the very fact that Carson was interviewed by Todd helps to validate his candidacy, while the moderator role for Todd helps to promote his assumption of the Meet the Press post next month for those who are paying attention during the proverbial "dog days" of August.

Carson explained that he decided he wanted to be a doctor when he was 8 years old, but he considered psychiatry as a path to greater financial security and settled on neurosurgery when he discovered that he had extraordinary talent for understanding special relationships as well as great hand-eye coordination. He recalled that at the time he decided to enter the field, there were only eight black neurosurgeons in the entire world.

The reason Carson gave for abandoning neurosurgery after making such an enormous investment in acquiring the skill and stature he achieved was that he found that the insurance companies and other bureaucrats had become so influential that they had removed the autonomy that originally attracted him. He declared that he wanted to make medicine fun again for doctors, and he lamented that healthcare reform has been enacted without the tort reform that would be essential to allow doctors to work without undue fear, given their inability to deliver perfect outcomes.

Asked when Carson decided to cross over from science to politics, Carson responded that he has been writing about public issues for decades. However, the perception of him changed as a result of his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. He stated simply that he loves this country and does not want to see it radically changed.

When Todd challenged Carson to discuss aspects of healthcare reform that he could support, Carson said he agreed that everyone should have healthcare and that there should not be arbitrary limits on the costs patients could incur, but he recounted a discussion with an administration official when he offered to cooperate on a bipartisan solution devoid of destructive rancor, only to be rebuffed and reminded that this is not possible because this is politics, and this is Washington.

The viewer is left to wonder how long Carson will have fun in politics given the constraints he has already encountered. His proposal calls for reform through health savings accounts as a means of deploying resources more efficiently rather than spending even more money on healthcare when the United States already spends twice as much as other industrialized countries do. He advocates taking routine services out of the ambit of insurance in the interest of conserving resources for catastrophic care.

(Archived video can be found here.)

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Dr. Ben Carson, emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Newsmax Insider, appeared on C-SPAN's After Words to talk about his book, "One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future."
Carson, healthcare, reform, Todd
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2014-42-26
Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 07:42 AM
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