DR. BEN CARSON: The bottom line is that we really need to start thinking about how do we take care of people in a reasonable way. How do we take practitioners out of a position where they have to decide upon the viability of their practice, and therefore they can only take a certain number of those kinds of patients?
We don't want them in that position. And that's why I have tended to look for a better system. Is health care a right? I don't believe it is. But I do believe it's a responsibility for a compassionate society, which we are. That's why I've advocated the use of health savings accounts. Make them available to everyone who can pay for them with the same dollars that we pay for traditional care with. We give people flexibility to move money around in their HSA within their family. It gives you enormous flexibility to cover almost anything that comes up.
It makes the cost of catastrophic insurance go down dramatically, because the only thing coming out of it is catastrophic health care. And that will easily take care of the majority of people in this country for less money than we're paying now. But what about the engine? This is where Medicaid and things like that come in--that's how we take care of it now. But the annual Medicaid budget is $405 billion a year. Think about the fact there are a quarter of our people involved in that: 80 million to 400 billion goes, $5,000 each man, woman and child. What could you buy with that? A concierge practice, and still have money left over to buy catastrophic insurance. I'm not suggesting we do that, but that's what's available. If we do that in a practical way--give them the ability to have control of their HSA, which people in government will say you can't do because they're stupid and you can't do it. They said that about food stamps, too. It's not true. And they will learn how to use it very quickly not to go to the emergency room where it costs five times more than to go to the clinic. In the clinic, you're also going to be looking at their overall health. You're going to be teaching the whole concept of health management for themselves. And we want to teach people how to be responsible and not how to be dependent.