Steinhauser: Carson suggests Obamacare may be about controlling lives; feels obligated to seriously consider 2016 bid
MANCHESTER - Dr. Ben Carson says he doesn't "want to" be president, but feels "obligated to at least seriously consider it."
And the retired neurosurgeon who's weighing a run for the GOP nomination suggested that Obamacare may be more about controlling Americans rather than helping them.
"I don't doubt that some of the people involved in this gigantic government program of the so-called Affordable Care Act had good intentions, that they wanted to do something. But I do wonder how much thought they put into it," Carson said as he gave the keynote address to a National Cultural Diversity Awareness Council conference held in Manchester.
"It does make me wonder sometimes about the motivations," of those behind President Barack Obama's health care law, Carson said.
"It's my own personal opinion that if you can control the most important thing a person has, their health and their healthcare, then you're well on the way to controlling every aspect of their life," he added.
And in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News, Carson said he would replace Obamacare with "health savings accounts for everyone, giving the people flexibility within their families so that they can transfer money from one account to another within their family, utilizing the same money that we use from Medicaid to take of the indigent to establish their health savings accounts. All of that costs considerably less money than we're spending now and would provide people with total choice and also brings the whole health care system into the free market model, which is what controls price and quality."
Asked if his plan would lower health care costs, he responded "absolutely."
Carson close to 2016 decision
Carson told NH1 News that he would probably decide on whether to launch a presidential bid "probably during the first week of May."
He visit to New Hampshire, his first of the year, came hours after his presidential exploratory committee announced that it raised $2.1 million from some 36,000 donors in its first month in operation.
Carson said that figure is more than he expected "because I know there's a lot of people who talk but don't but their money where their mouth is. It looks like people are putting their money where their mouth is and obviously I would imagine if I announce that would go up tremendously. So what I really want to make sure of is that I'm doing what my fellow Americans want me to do. Do they really want to have someone in the mix who's really more one of them and not just a traditional political figure, who has had a lot of experience solving problems, and is that something applicable to our nation. If people feel that it is, I'm willing to try it. It certainly wasn't on my bucket list of things to do."
He added that "I continue to go around the country, five or six states a week, listening to what people have to say, gauging their level of enthusiasm, also by the number of people who contribute. And we're over 40,000 in the last month, obviously a pretty solid number. So it's looking very promising, but I'm a surgeon, so I like to be very very certain before I take a leap."
Last year in an interview Carson said "no I don't want to be president. Why would any sane person want to do that."
Asked if he still feels that way now, Carson said "I still don't want to do it. But I kind of see it as if I at the end of a long hard day at the hospital. And it's late and I'm finally ready to go home and relax and as I'm walking out the door in comes a three-year-old with a brain mass who needs immediate surgery. And I could say ‘let who ever's on call deal with it.' But the parents come up to me and say ‘please doctor, you've gotta help.' So you go back and you spend the next several hours dealing with that situation. There's been so many Americans who've said that to me. And there's something that I bringing to the table that they don't see elsewhere. So I feel obligated to at least seriously consider it."
In his interview with NH1 News, Carson reiterated his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I'm not going to change on that. But I do believe that every American is protected by our Constitution. Every American has equal rights, including gay people. But equal rights does not mean extra rights, which means you get to redefine everything for everybody else."
And asked about his controversial comments from a few weeks ago that being gay is a choice and that prisons are evidence that homosexuality is an option - comments that he later admitted were "hurtful and divisive," Carson said "I believe what I believe. I'm sure there are other people who believe differently. And everybody's entitled to their beliefs. The important thing is that we recognize that everyone in America is entitled to the protection of our Constitution."
"I don't want to talk about it any further than what I've said already," Carson added.
After Manchester, Carson headed to the Hollis Pharmacy and General store, a favorite stop for White House hopefuls. He was scheduled to hold a town hall with supporters at the Alpine Grove Banquet facility in Hollis Monday evening.