Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson held a campaign stop at Eastern Michigan University's Convocation Center Wednesday. Carson is in 4th place among GOP hopefuls, 13.8 percent according to realclearpolitics.com.
A crowd of about 200 supporters applauded as Carson approached the podium. Carson started with President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Carson diagnosed the problem with American healthcare as the government getting involved.
EMU changed a lot in the lobby for the sold out campaign stop. The football field was hidden by a row of black drapes on the side, allowing light to come in from the back windows. Behind the podium was an American flag and giant podium screen.
The sold out auditorium included Benjamin Lang. The University of Michigan med student said he was inspired by Carson's life story from poverty to being chief neurosurgeon at John Hopkins. Carson was the director of pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins from 1984 to 2013. He is an alumnus from the U of M.
“He just announced his proposal for the new health care alternative for Obamacare,” Lang said. “I'm supportive of that.”
Health care was the focus of the campaign stop. In the plan that he announced on his website, Carson said that “Obamacare is a looming disaster.” He said that American families will be facing fewer choices, doctors and criticizes broken promises that the President has made.
“A lifetime in medicine taught me that the best health care decisions are made between patient and doctor,” Carson wrote. “As decision-making moves further away from patients and providers, the medical outcomes become less effective.”
According to CBS News, Carson's plan includes raising the Medicare age to 70, creating “tax-sheltered” accounts called "Health Empowerment Accounts” to pay for medical expenses in a way that promotes personal choice and competition for insurers. This would involve an overhaul of Medicaid and the scrapping of Obamacare.
This, Carson said, would give citizens much more flexibility. When a citizen is born, they would be given a Health Empowerment Account, which would build money over their lifetime. Money would be transferable among family members. You would have to buy catastrophic insurance, and across state lines.
“In terms of Medicare, we want people to have choices,” Carson said. “We don't want to have a bunch of bureaucrats dictating to people what they have to do. A lot of people get very nervous when you say anything about changing Medicare because it's become a way of life. But this is going to be so much superior to what was there already.”
Lisa Levan, a Carson supporter, said that she believes in the same things Carson does.
“I diffidently agree on his pro-Israel stance,” LeVan said. “And his sentiments toward the Muslim terrorism, about the terrorism taking place in this country. I am looking for someone to keep our borders safe, [and] be actually pro-Israel nation as we've always been in the past.”
Carson said empowering Americans is what he wants.
After going through his slide show on his healthcare plane, Carson moved on to other issues including a series of run ins that Carson has had with the press. Carson has been criticized by some people in the media for a series of perceived gaffs. Including one incident where he pronounced the terror organization Hamas like "hummus." At one point, Carson shot back by asking what they had ever accomplished.
“We're not getting the real story about what's happening,” Carson said. “And it will continue until it completely bankrupts this country. The good news is that it can be fixed.”
Carson also decried the amount of divisiveness currently dominating American politics. Carson said the “secular progressive movement” is behind the divisiveness in America.
Returning from a trip to the refugee camps around Syria, Carson emphasized his “third way” plan to take care of Syrians in the Middle East, without taking them into the US, citing national security.
Moving on from healthcare, Carson criticized Obama's energy policies. He called them “archaic” and from the 1970s. Carson suggested using energy resources like oil and natural gas to export.
“We can make Europe and other places dependent on us for energy and put Putin back in his little box where he belongs,” Carson said.
Like most of the GOP, Carson said “regulations cost money.”