by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
John Fund‘s latest National Review Online column features his conversation with Dr. Benjamin Carson, the neurosurgeon who made news by offering a National Prayer Breakfast speech in President Obama’s presence that struck at the heart of Obamacare.
While most of his remarks were motivational or spiritual, he made some pointed political comments about the need for freer markets in health care and a less complicated tax code that includes a flat tax. He also issued a warning that the U.S. was in danger of following the path of ancient Rome’s “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.”
“The response has been overwhelming,” Carson told me in an interview this week from his office at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He had just come from taping an hour-long panel discussion with opinion leaders that will air on Fox News tonight at 9 p.m. He can’t count how many people have urged him to run for office in the past week. The Wall Street Journal editorial page even ran a headline, “Ben Carson for President.”
But as much as he appreciates the media attention to his message, he says the “most touching responses to my speech have come from elderly Americans, who told me they had given up on our nation, and now they feel that maybe there’s a chance.” Carson insists that he’s a member of no political party. “If I were part of one, it would be called the ‘Logic party,’ and it would be dedicated to commonsense approaches we all should be able to see.” Among them would be “recognizing that our debt is so great we have got to stop digging the hole and spend less.”
As for health care, he says it’s imperative not to further damage the doctor-patient relationship. “The key is to cut out the middleman and empower both doctor and patient with information about what things cost,” he tells me. He suggests that every child born in the U.S. should get a medical savings account, which could receive pretax contributions from family members, charities, and government. “People spending more of their own money on routine health care,” he says, “would make the system more competitive and transparent and restore the confidence between the patients and the doctors without government rationing.”