10 things to know about 'Carsoncare'

Ben Carson, MD, Republican hopeful for the 2016 presidential election and former neurosurgeon, released a healthcare plan Wednesday, likely to bring the dialogue back into his wheelhouse after a series of foreign policy blunders.

Here are 10 things to know about Dr. Carson's "prescription for empowerment."

1. The plan calls for the immediate repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. "My pledge is to implement a plan to return American healthcare to these core principles: more freedom and less government, resulting in lower costs and more access for consumers," Dr. Carson pledges in the 10-page outline, which is broken down into three parts: "Health Empowerment Accounts," Medicare and Medicaid.

2. The focal point of Dr. Carson's plan are his Health Empowerment Accounts, which are essentially health savings accounts. The primary difference between health savings accounts and Dr. Carson's HEAs is every citizen would be given an HEA with their Social Security number at birth. Like health savings accounts, HEAs would be tax-free. They would be independent of people's job and residence, and the funds would be transferable between family members.

3. HEAs would be combined with high-deductible health plans. According to Dr. Carson, this "allows individuals and families to have both first-dollar health coverage as well as protection from the risk of significant costs from major health problems and hospitalizations."

4. Dr. Carson wants to "modernize" Medicare and increase the age of eligibility. Due to expansions of the program, growing costs and a growing senior population, Medicare has grown to "unsustainable proportions," according to Dr. Carson. To help combat this, Dr. Carson's plan would gradually increase the minimum age for Medicare benefits from 65 to 70 over three decades. According to Dr. Carson, this is in step with the extended life span and would "lengthen and prolong the solvency of Medicare's trust fund."

5. Medicare beneficiaries would have first-dollar coverage for out-of-pocket costs. The HEAs would provide first-dollar coverage for medical expenses, deductibles and co-pays.

6. Medicare beneficiaries would choose their own private health plan and receive fixed contributions. If the premiums are less than Medicare's fixed contribution, the difference would be paid into that person's HEA, and if the plan's premiums are more than the Medicare contribution, the person could use HEA funds to make up the difference.

7. Dr. Carson's plan also reenvisions Medicaid to "improve, stabilize and equalize care." According to his plan, Medicaid expansion has worsened the "two-tier" healthcare status of Medicaid recipients. "When government imposes a Medicaid system whose payment structure is so low that doctors cannot afford to participate, it creates a two-tiered health care system for the poor, who have access to fewer doctors and face longer (and in some cases, life-threatening) waits to see the ones that remain," his plan reads.

8. Dr. Carson's Medicaid plan would provide beneficiaries with seed funding for their HEAs and private insurance plans. Medicaid through the states would fund a private medical insurance plan and beneficiaries would receive seed funding to their HEAs for uncovered costs.

9. Fixed-dollar Medicaid funding would be provided to states. This would be used for premiums and seed HEAs, the plan says.

10. The plan does not include cost and coverage estimates.


More articles on leadership and management:

Only 15% of hospitals, health systems confident in their consumerism strategies
Jefferson Health's Dr. Stephen Klasko is editor-in-chief of Healthcare Transformation journal
Top 10 trends shaping the health industry in 2016

Copyright © 2022 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars