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A Critical Examination of Ben Carson, Part 3 - Healthcare & Romanticizing the Past

Ben CarsonThis is a continuation in my ongoing series to take a closer look at the views and positions of Ben Carson, in particular by looking at articles he's written. The index contains links to all of the entries in the series.

In this entry, I'm looking at the article, A 'We the People' moment for a 'can-do' nation. To be honest, this article wasn't particularly focused, so it's hard to write a short reply that addresses everything. It ranged from criticizing the Affordable Care Act to criticizing government in general to bringing up Benghazi (of course) to pining for good old fashioned American values. But since the opening paragraphs were about healthcare, that's what I'll mainly focus on. Here's a paragraph that gives the gist of Carson's opinion on the Affordable Care Act.

The "Affordable Care Act," which probably seems less affordable to most Americans as we find out more about it, is the cause of this unnecessary misery. When the employer mandate, which is part of Obamacare, is activated early next year, tens of millions more Americans will face dramatic hikes in the cost of the health care they are currently receiving or will lose it all together. The current administration understood that this would happen, which occasioned the issuing of several executive orders delaying the implementation of the employer mandate until after the November 2014 elections.

There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act has problems that need to be worked out. However, universal health care is an important factor for improving our nation's health care system (here's something I wrote a few years ago, but is still a good summary of why universal health care is an improvement over the previous system - Universal Health Care). One of the biggest problems with implementation of the ACA is that it wasn't implemented in the intended way. The individual mandate was supposed to be accomplished partly through employer provided healthcare, and partly through expansion of Medicaid*. However, nearly half of the states in the country refused the Medicaid expansion (and it took a Supreme Court battle for them to be able to do so), and now their citizens are paying the price. According to several studies, millions will remain uninsured, and on the order of 7,000 people a year will die that wouldn't have had those states expanded Medicaid (BillMoyers.com - Study Shows the Madness of States Refusing to Expand Medicaid).

What's especially frustrating is the way the Affordable Care Act came about. If you do follow that link to my previous article, you'll see mention of many of the falsehoods, misinformation, and propaganda that came out of the right wing when the ACA was being debated. There wasn't the type of constructive bipartisan debate that could have made the law better. Hopefully now that the law's already on the books, Congress and the Senate can focus on ways to improve it.

Further into Carson's article, he wrote a paragraph that, while not really terribly important to his larger point, typifies the way the right wing romanticizes the past.

Those are the values that allowed a ragtag army during the American Revolution to defeat the most powerful military force on earth. They did not possess a superior fighting force or ingenious strategies, but they did hold strong beliefs, for which they were willing to die, while the British soldiers were just following orders. That same kind of conviction today can lead us to become informed voters and exercise the powers vested in us courageously.

Yes, the founding fathers had strong beliefs. But don't forget the American alliances with France and Spain and the additional support from the Netherlands (Wikipedia). There were also the other wars in the Caribbean and Florida by those countries that divided British efforts, keeping the British from focusing the full of their military strength on the 13 colonies (more info - U.S. History Scene - The American Revolution: A Very European Ordeal). Don't take this the wrong way - I'm very glad that the group that would eventually become the U.S. won the war and was able to found a country committed to Enlightenment ideals, but it's a little naïve to credit America's victory to their convictions while ignoring all the international support.

I suppose that's it for this entry. Like I already wrote, Carson's article was so scattershot that it's hard to pick a single topic to respond to, and I don't really want to turn this into a paragraph for paragraph rebuttal. At any rate, aside from a few platitudes, I can't say that I particularly agree with the overall sentiment of this article, either.

Summary on RealBenCarson.com: A 'We the People' Moment For A 'Can-Do' Nation

Image Source: Christian Post, Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Continue to Part 4 - Ebola

*Of course, you can question the wisdom of employer provided health insurance. Personally, I think it's a bit of a weird system. I buy my own auto and life insurance - why is health insurance different? With the current law, it's led to unintended consequences like employers reducing employee hours to get out of providing health insurance, and it opens up cases like the Hobby Lobby affair, where employees are denied basic services because their employer doesn't like those services. But going away from employer provided health insurance would be a huge change, and would likely take many years for things to settle out (for example, how much should people's salaries go up if their employers quit paying for their insurance).


If the employer healthcare was used instead of individual mandated healthcare I think the ACA would have been a big success. The reason it didn't was because businesses didn't want to take on the added expense. What businesses don't know are there are ways from them to cut there healthcare cost while giving the same or better coverage to there employees. http://www.employerhealthcaretaxstrategy.com/ is showing companies how to take advantage of a section 125 plan and other tax codes to save them and the employee money.

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