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Carson Wants To Replace Obamacare With "Health Empowerment Accounts"

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and replace it with what he calls, “health empowerment accounts.” 

During a town hall meeting in Panora on Wednesday, the retired neurosurgeon described health empowerment accounts as health-savings accounts, "but with no bureaucrats.” Everyone with a Social Security number would get an account, and families would be able to shift money among themselves to pay for medical care.

"Dad's $500 short, Mom can give it to him, or daughter, or uncle or grandfather," says Carson. "It makes a family their own insurance company with no middleman. Imagine the flexibility." 

Carson says he would require Medicaid funds to be used for empowerment accounts and premium payments, "not wasteful state bureaucracies." He also wants to increase the eligibility age of Medicare by two months annually, until it reaches age 70. The current age at which most Americans become eligible is 65.

Carson addressed the Syrian refugee crisis, saying allowing people to come to the U.S. would open the door to ISIS. Instead he says the U.S. should support Syria refugees resettle in the country’s northeast, an ethnically diverse region under Kurdish control.

"What an incredible place to resettle the refugees, in their own country. They don't have to learn a new culture," he says, "Look at how many Syrian men there are in Saudi Arabia, and throughout the Syrian peninsula, and in the Jordanian camps. Those young men need to be recruited and trained as a fighting force to fight ISIS and keep their people safe. "

Carson says the refugees would be protected through the presence of “international, protective” forces. 

Carson plans to hold several more events in Iowa this week, before stumping in South Carolina on Saturday.