Ben Carson's Great Idea for Replacing Medicaid & Medicare



Ben Carson has a great idea to replace Medicaid and Medicare.

Carson, who now leads the GOP field in Iowa according to the latest Quinnipiac Poll, would eliminate the program that provides health care to 49 million senior citizens, as well as Medicaid, and replace it with a system of cradle-to-grave savings accounts which would be funded with $2,000 a year in government contributions.

Under the plan Carson outlined most specifically last year, the government would contribute $2,000 to each individual’s tax-free account every year, with a third of the funding earmarked for insurance to cover severe medical incidents. Individuals and employers could contribute additional funds to the accounts, and the unspent funds could be shared among family members, which Carson says "makes every family their own insurance company." His main selling points – his plan gives people control of their own health care spending and would be cheaper to administer.

This is a great plan. When people are given a set amount of money and told they can spend it as they see fit, it gives them an incentive to only go to doctors when they need to. When they only have to pay a small copay and the government pays the rest, that gives them an incentive to overuse health care. Putting the patients in the drivers' seat will make them pay attention to costs and perhaps avoid some unnecessary procedures (though it can be difficult to know what is unnecessary in the medical field, admittedly). Furthermore, the portion of the $2000 used for insurance for castastrophic incidents is also great. That's what essential health insurance plans should look like--to cover huge, unexpected expenditures. Not to cover condoms and sex change operations and kids who are 26 year old and unlimited benefits and so on and so on.
It's very pleasing to see Carson embracing a free market solution to the healthcare problem. It would be difficult to pass any legislature, even a Republican one, but it would be a novelty to have a president push such a proposal. Given his past wobbliness on issues such as the minimum wage, regulation of financial markets, and ethanol subsidies, it is good to see him pushing ideas like this.

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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