Dr. Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon who made a big splash with his politically incorrect speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, gave an interview recently where he gave clues to what he would say in his upcoming speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which will take place in Washington, D.C., from March 14-16.
Carson, head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., said that his CPAC speech will revolve around the topic of America's "upside down" healthcare program, a subject he touched on at the National Prayer Breakfast.
The director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins told NPR's Michel Martin that he believes healthcare can be improved in the country by eliminating the influence of insurance companies, which he describes as "the middle man," and increasing doctor-patient relationships, predominately through Health Savings Accounts, which are started at birth and accumulate as the patient grows older.
Carson told Martin that he believes Health Savings Accounts provide a sense of personal responsibility for one's health, as well as cut out the middle man and increase a patient's personal relationship with their healthcare provider.
Additionally, when Martin questioned Carson on his conservative allegiance, as the CPAC is considered to be one of the primary national conservative gatherings of the year, Carson replied: "I consider myself a logical person […] I don't think conservative and liberal, I think, 'what makes sense. What's going to help the American people? What's going to give them what they need?'"
In reference to his previous controversial comments, delivered at the National Prayer Breakfast in early February, Carson argued that he was not personally criticizing President Barack Obama for his work, but was rather bringing up issues that he had long questioned. "I wouldn't characterize myself as criticizing the president. I've been talking about these things long before he was on the scene. It is not so much a criticism of him as it is placing out there some other ideals about how to get this thing under control," Carson told Martin on NPR's "Tell Me More."
In his National Prayer Breakfast speech, Carson pointed out problems with the government's tax system, its handling of the national debt, and the country's healthcare system, as President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden sat mere feet from his podium.
The well-known doctor's politically incorrect speech catapulted him into the national spotlight and garnered him widespread support from the average American. "I think my [National Prayer Breakfast Speech] resonated with a huge number of people," Carson told NPR, adding that he believes his previous speech provided hope, especially to the elderly in the country.
When Martin asked Carson if he believes he owes President Barack Obama an apology for his controversial statements, Carson replied: "I don't think so at all. In fact, I don't believe that expressing your opinion, regardless of who's there, is being rude. And it's a shame that we've reached a level in our country where we think that you don't have the right to put your opinion out there."
Carson's National Prayer Breakfast speech resulted in talks about him running for political office. On NPR, Carson said of this issue, "Why would I run for Congress and continue to get tainted with all the things that people get tainted with as they come along the system?"
"Perhaps a much better road would be to use my voice and to use my influence to help change the tone of this nation, to help [Americans] realize 'we're not enemies,'" he added.
Carson, who is retiring from his job as pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins in June, is one of the many influential conservative names headlining the upcoming CPAC event. Other speakers include Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska; Marco Rubio, U.S. senator from Florida; and Paul Ryan, congressman from Wisconsin and GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012.