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Ben Carson's Plans to Repeal Obamacare, Enact Major Changes to Medicare, Medicaid

Laura Joszt
GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson has presented his plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a healthcare system that uses tax-sheltered personal savings accounts and reforms Medicare and Medicaid.
GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson has presented his plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a healthcare system that uses tax-sheltered personal savings accounts and reforms Medicare and Medicaid.

The healthcare plan is a rough outline of his vision for the future of healthcare in the United States and lacks specific details and estimates of cost or coverage. What his plan does make clear is that he is looking to restore the patient-physician relationship, which he feels has taken a backseat due to the government decisions.

“The needs of each patient are as unique as their individual fingerprints, and any action on the part of the government—however well intentioned—is likely to set in motion a cascade of effects that reduces the quality of care patients receive,” Carson wrote in the outline. “The best, most effective health care decisions are made at the granular level, between individual patients and doctors.”

Carson’s plan relies heavily on the creation of Health Empowerment Accounts (HEAs), a tax-sheltered account that individuals will be given at birth (upon receiving a Social Security number, so immigrants would be excluded) and will follow them throughout life as they change employers. These HEAs will be paired with high-deductible coverage. The plan would not do away with a health insurance marketplace, which consumers would use to purchase “a wide and expanding array of health care options.”

As for Medicare, Carson would slowly raise the age of eligibility from 65 years to 70 years. The eligibility age would increase by 2 months a year over the next 3 decades, and would then be indexed to keep pace with life expectancy in the US. Medicare would include a fixed payment so beneficiaries can purchase the plan of their choice and they would also have access to an HEA for additional funds.

The Medicaid program would include a private insurance option for all enrollees that would be funded through by Medicaid through the states. The states would receive a fixed-dollar support for their Medicaid programs and the money would be used to pay insurance premium payments and for HEAs.

“Health care decisions are some of the most important decisions a person will ever face and the government should not be the one to make these decisions,” Carson said in a statement. “The power to choose your health care plan and your doctor was always intended to be placed within the hands of ‘We The People.’ I am pleased to release my vision for the American health care system and offer a blueprint for empowering the American people instead of the federal government.”

 
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