October 13, 2013

Rascovar commentary on Ben Carson’s split personality

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By Barry Rascovar

For MarylandReporter.com

Ben Carson at podium by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

Ben Carson by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

As a pediatric neurosurgeon, Ben Carson was spectacular. His extraordinary eye-hand coordination and three-dimensional skills led to the world’s first separation of twins joined at the head — a 22-hour procedure requiring an expert Johns Hopkins surgical team of 70.

As a philanthropist, he and his wife are exemplary leaders in awarding scholarships to deserving youths who strive to be the best, regardless of economic or societal circumstances.

But as a novice political commentator, Ben Carson is displaying a less admirable side.

The first glimmer of this surfaced over the winter when he embarrassed President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual, nonpartisan event designed to be spiritually uplifting. Instead, Carson delivered a gloomy speech about “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility” directed at the man sitting by his side.

For this deed, he became an instant hero to far-right conservatives. Fox News and the Wall Street Journal urged him to run for president.

Another outburst critical of same-sex marriages sparked a protest movement last spring among students at the place that had put him on a pedestal — the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

This uproar grew so fierce Carson stepped down as commencement speaker to avoid a nasty scene for himself and the university that had nurtured his rise to super-star status.

Ben Carson by JSmithPhoto  on Flickr

Ben Carson by JSmithPhoto on Flickr

New career as conservative media commentator

Now that he is a retired neurosurgeon, Carson has embarked on a new career as a right-wing talking head for Fox News, the Tea Party station.

On his first day, he equated President Obama to Vladimir Lenin and equated the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) to communism.

He mistakenly attributed to Lenin the line that “socialized medicine is the keystone of the arch to the socialist state. . . . because it gives you control of the people.” (As far as the Library of Congress can glean from its research, it’s a made-up quote.)

In another outburst, he claimed to be a victim of the Internal Revenue Service’s witch hunt against right-wingers because he’s been tagged for a tax audit this year. He offered no further evidence.

Then on Friday he called Obamacare “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. It is slavery, in a way. It is making us all subservient to the government. . . . It [is] about control.”

Yes, Carson wins the prize for “wacko comments of the week.”

He wins in a landslide.

Defining socialized medicine

Is Obamacare socialized medicine, as Carson insists? Not really.

Socialized medicine implies a nation’s health-care system is fully controlled and paid for by the government. That’s the way it worked in the old Soviet Union:

All doctors, nurses and medical staff were state employees working in state hospitals and health facilities. Private medical services were illegal.

The Soviet government dictated the number of doctors, the number of surgeries and the amount of medicine dispersed. Cuba has a similar system today.

Other countries have a far more modest, and less dictatorial, form of universal health care run by the government — Britain, Finland, Spain, Israel and Canada.

Obamacare is a weak sister next to those socialized programs.

Examining Obamacare

If Carson wants an example of socialized medicine in this country, he shouldn’t point to Obamacare but to the military medical systems, the Veterans Administration, the Tricare government program for military families, Medicare and Medicaid.

None of those U.S. programs allows private insurers to sign up millions of Americans for health care coverage. Obamacare does.

Obamacare lets individuals choose their own private insurance plans from a wide array of options. People are free to choose their own doctors, too.

Individuals who already have health insurance don’t have to change.

Government subsidies support a big chunk of Obamacare, but the choice is still in the hands of individuals as to how much of their own money they want to spend on health care.

There’s no opt-out provision in other nations’ health care programs. Under Obamacare, anyone determined to go without health care can do so, but there’s an annual fee involved.

That hardly constitutes “socialized medicine” and it hardly amounts to oppressive government control and enslavement.

U.S. vs. The Industrialized World

If universal health care coverage is so mendacious, why does every industrialized country in the world have some form of it, except the United States?

Are all those countries marching in lock-step to the drumbeat of Comrade Lenin’s ideology?

Are the VA and U.S. military health systems part of a grand communist conspiracy?

Obamacare is a modified version of Medicare, which has been around for nearly 50 years without limiting individual freedoms for seniors.

Today’s Medicare supplements function much the way Obamacare works: The government qualifies private health plans, which then vie with one another to win enough applicants to make a big profit.

Carson’s sad transformation

That’s good old American competition at work, though the rules of the game are written by our elected representatives in Washington.

In Carson’s eyes, though, this is the second coming of an Orwellian, Leninist society.

It’s sad to see Carson transform himself from a much-admired recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom into a right-wing, apocalyptic voice.

Even worse, he has abandoned the scientific method that guided his earlier career. That time-honored approach demands rock-solid, well-tested proof before sweeping assertions and hypotheses are accepted as fact.

Ben Carson has forsaken the scientific method for political pontificating.

It’s a great loss for society and for those who once held this philanthropist and man of medicine in such high esteem.

 

 

  • ksteve

    Exactly. The Affordable Care Act, branded as Obamacare for political reasons by Republicans and foolishly accepted as such by Democrats, is so far from being socialized medicine that it’s laughable. I had socialized medicine while in the military, although I heard no right-wing complaints about that. When the Republicans branded ACA as Obamacare, they were playing to their ignorant and racist base (who despise Obama because he’s ‘different” from them and wouldn’t know anything about the ACA anyway). As has been shown by surveyors, many of the general public think Obamacare and ACA are two different animals.
    There will still be plenty of profit in medicine and the insurance industry under the ACA (Obamacare). It’s not like the pharmaceutical industry is going to go bankrupt either. If Ben Carson and friends are worried about that, I’m not.

    • abby_adams

      I voted for Obama in 2008 not because he was black but because I believed his message, just as I believed O’Malley’s message at first. When it came time to judge during the 2012 election, Obama had a record that didn’t live up to his hype, just like O’Malley. It’s not surprising that the general public has no idea what is or isn’t covered, the cost, the co-pays or deductibles given that this administration has had 3 1/2 years to get its act together. As for the profit in medicine, the insurance industry or big pharma still being generated once this plan is fully implemented, I wouldn’t bet money on the outcome.

  • JGwen

    Of course one needs to recall the Michigan federal lawmaker who noted, after the signing of the Unaffordable Care Act, who advised it takes a long time – to develop legislation – to control the people. That selection was played over and over at the time. As for the impact on affordability, availability and quality of medical services for the massive investment in Government control and involvement, there is not the slightest doubt in my mind … it will be shown (given a chance to assess it .. which under our present leadership is debatable) to be neither cost beneficial or cost effective. Britain’s “NICE” nicely portrays the direction “Health Care” is headed in. Dr Carson knows the medical system intimately. To try and discount his insights is a foolish errand.

    I’ve long since abandon the mainstream media – newspapers, TV, magazines and other sources that fail to provide balanced coverage and analysis of newsworthy topics.

    They who feed at the liberal/progressive’s troughs beware should they fail to obey their leaders diktat or when their big government gods run out of other peoples money

    • vma100

      Laughable. Talk about who must “obey their leaders.” You should go back to those “mainstream” media sources, which will fill your head with real balance in reporting. Apparently you’re hearing only the echo chamber of others who march to the loony-tune right-wing fringe. Good luck over there. And please, be sure not to take advantage of any government programs.

      • abby_adams

        Demonize, marginalize, that’s the way! Abedah, abedah, that’s all folks!

      • JGwen

        Let me start with assuring you I have NO “leaders.” I “OBEY” no one! I hear the messages Progressives, liberals, the hard left deliver, so reading a “mainstream” take on them is IMO unnecessary. I don’t need anyone to interpret their messages, through that individual’s own perspectives. Would that there were a portion of the U.S. where the citizenry as a whole recognized and behaved as responsible, self sufficient individuals. Having been a part of a bureaucracy I can assure you it is foolhardy to believe you will be safe, happy, financially whole – cared for and directed cradle to grave by your Government as a “JULIA” or JULIAN. I am doing my best not to take advantage of any government programs … but when money has been and is being forcibly extricated from my income to pay for “Government solutions,” there are areas I end up with too little to be able to take advantage of an alternative.

  • GBenson(D)

    Rascovar is really amazing, spends a life-time making money while doing nothing but commenting on the hard work of others. Shame on him, 40 lashes, for being so bold as to talk about Carsin’s qualifications. There was absolutely nothing indepth or hard-hitting in this article– just a bunch of journalistic cheer leading to further indoctrinate those not willing to research the truth. The simple fact is there are two valid perspectives regarding ACA. Neither is complete right-or-wrong. This could be great for the nation, but it really needs to be properly setup before we spend money and programs on websites that don’t work and are of any real benefit– sorta like this author.

    • abby_adams

      Upending the system will only result in a myriad of problems, those pesky “unintended consequences” we keep hearing about. Had the Dem majority in the House & Senate who passed this bill been really concerned abt fixing the system they would have rolled out reforms over a period of time instead of “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” & causing massive disruptions to 1/6th of the American economy.

  • abby_adams

    Maybe Barry ought to check out C-Span video library since Dr. Carson has been sharing his core message with audiences for quite while now. Barry seems to be offended since questioning Obamacare’s effectiveness as “the” cure for all health care issues is based not on “scientific” practices but on Carson’s journey to the dark side of political incorrectness as dictated by progressives. Carson couldn’t be called a racist for questioning because of the color of his skin, so he must be a right wing wacko.

    Comparing existing gov run healthcare programs to the ACA is bogus as well. As for his “wiki” look at socialized medicine around the world, need I remind him that many countries that currently have this type of healthcare delivery also have severe money problems supporting these programs & in many cases are curtailing services. With all the issues surrounding VA medical care, does he want these myriad of problems as a part of the healthcare received by his “near & dear”? I wonder…

    I thank some media outlets for giving voice to those who have a different opinion. While Barry has the right to his own opinion, he doesn’t have the right to alter facts. We asked our leaders to come up with ideas to improve the health insurance system, not a wholesale “comprehensive” overhaul of our entire health delivery system especially during a severe economic downturn! I’ll trust the caveats expressed by Dr. Carson before Rascovar’s rantings.

  • OldHippie43

    So just because Ben Carson doesn’t agree with the liberal viewpoint, he is somehow “less admirable” and a wacko with a split personality. I’m more ready to believe that Barry Rascovar is nothing but a hack writer and a liberal shill.

  • Tina Mallory

    America needs Dr. Ben Carson’s vision, logical solutions, and leadership! His life story has inspired people for decades and he has been a mentor and shining example of the importance of education, family, personal responsibility, and reaching one’s maximum potential. His intelligence, common sense, and refusal to let political correctness dictate what he “should” say, has allowed him to deliver a message to America that identifies many of our country’s problems and offers solutions. Learn more about Dr. Carson for yourself at this link and don’t listen to people pushing their liberal ideology: https://www.facebook.com/notes/draft-dr-benjamin-carson-for-president/new-to-our-page/561039633963047

  • CaMaven

    Gee, intelligent, black independent thinkers REALLY get savaged when they wander off the Liberal plantation.