Republican presidential hopeful and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson released his proposed health care plan on Wednesday and — spoiler alert — the 10-page policy outline promises a full-on overhaul of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known commonly as ObamaCare. Perhaps to remind the public of his time in scrubs, Carson's plan is image-heavy with shots of the former Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon in action.
"It is time for a change, and as president, I will make it a priority to immediately repeal and replace ObamaCare," reads the health care plan. "My pledge is to return American health care to these principles: more freedom and less government, resulting in lower costs and more access for consumers."
In his plan, Carson takes aim at what he sees as failings of the Affordable Care Act, among them what he says are fewer health care plan options available to consumers.
"Through Obamacare, the federal government of the United States has used its power to coerce American citizens to buy health insurance coverage they don't want — while restraining private insurance companies from offering policies that consumers demand," the plan reads.
The bones of Carson's health care plan propose to expand Health Empowerment Accounts, or HEAs. According to Carson's document, accounts would be assigned to a person at birth and would follow an individual through life changes, such as career switches or moving from one state to another. Other elements of Carson's plan include bolstering a market-based solution to regulate competitive pricing and extending the age floor for Medicare from 65 to 70.
In essence, in the plan, Carson takes issue with how the Affordable Care Act has "intervened in the doctor-patient relationship," which he says has resulted in higher deductibles and co-pays and a decrease in access to doctors.
Yet in an October press release, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported a majority of Americans in the Marketplace, or about 85%, received tax credits, which ultimately made health care more affordable, and HHS estimated affordability to increase next year.
"In 2016, a 27-year-old with an income of $25,000 a year will on average get an annual tax credit of $1,164 – compared to $972 in 2015," reads the press release. "A typical family of four with an income of $60,000 will on average receive an annual tax credit of $5,568 – compared to $4,848 in 2015. Marketplace tax credits are structured so they keep pace with premium increases in the benchmark silver plan, therefore many premium increases are offset."
On the issue of the volume of insurers available to consumers, HHS reported the average number available to patients has "remained stable" and even increased slightly compared to 2014.
Correction: Dec. 10, 2015