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At the beginning of his speech, Carson shared an intense disdain for political correctness. Without getting too specific on the issue front, he said that Americans should stop being afraid to speak up and defend their beliefs; he also encouraged people to respect the individuals they disagree with. Carson held little back, condemning political correctness as "a horrible thing" that is "dangerous," as it hampers freedom of thought and expression.
"We've reached a point where people are actually afraid to talk about what they want to say, because somebody might be offended," Carson said, noting the example of people refraining from saying "Merry Christmas." "We've got to get over this sensitivity and it keeps people from saying what they really believe." Carson encouraged discussion about societal issues, also pointing out education as an essential conundrum the country needs to confront. He highlighted his own path from poverty to success, sharing very personal details about his parents and early family life and subsequently described the importance of helping students seeking to advance academically through his Carson Scholars Fund.
Carson’s remarks regarding what appeared to be his alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) appeared to make the president uncomfortable at times, with Obama looking down and away as Carson began to describe specific suggestions.
ACA is President Obama’s landmark health reform legislation that was passed in 2010. Carson has spoken openly in the past about alternatives to the law.
“We spend a lot of money on health care, twice as much per capita as anyone else in the world, and yet not very efficient. What can we do?” Carson asked rhetorically. “Here’s my solution. When a person is born, give them a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account [HSA] to which money can be contributed pre-tax from the time you’re born to the time you die.”
Carson went on to say that HSAs chould be passed on to surviving family members, so “there’s nobody talking about death panels,” in an obvious reference to the controversial “death panels” discussed during negotiations and after passage of ACA.
Regarding those who cannot afford health insurance, Carson suggested, “We can make contributions to their HSA each month,” he said, adding, “we already have this huge pot of money; instead of sending it to some bureaucracy let’s put it in their HSAs. Now they have some control over their own health care.”