Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) constitutional, I am concerned about its effect on those who need quality healthcare the most: the poor and vulnerable. The Court, of course, was not called upon to determine whether the law would actually have its intended effect. While the White House appears to have consulted many experts during Obamacare’s formative months, they also hung up twice on Dr. Ben Carson as he offered his advice.

Why did the White House hang up on the world-renown African-American neurosurgeon? Because he admitted to being an Independent, not a Democrat. Dr. Carson, who is director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, has been openly critical of the US current healthcare system. He has also made it clear, however, that he thinks Obama’s Affordable Care Act is not the answer.

Dr. Carson should understand better than almost anyone in the White House the importance of affordable access to healthcare for the poor and needy. He was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised by a single mother. He overcame early struggles in his life to graduate from Yale and University of Michigan’s Medical School and made medical history in 1987 when he successfully separated the Binder Twins, who were conjoined at the head.

So why doesn’t Dr. Carson believe Obamacare will provide better outcomes for people in circumstances similar to those of his own childhood? Because countries like Canada and Great Britain have already tried similar plans for decades, and those plans are now failing their patients. In an April interview with World Magazine, Dr. Carson explained, “Great Britain and some other places with socialized medicine are looking at privatization because they're running out of money. The problem with socialized medicine is that you can't seem to keep up with costs over the course of time, so you have to ration.”

In addition to running out of money, the European and Canadian healthcare systems have poorer results for what they spend. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis both Europe and Canada have worse cancer survival rates than Americans do under our current system. Furthermore, Americans are more likely to get screened and once diagnosed, we have faster access to treatment. As someone who survived esophageal cancer, I am grateful for the superior treatment I received here. And every time I entered Johns Hopkins, I literally saw people from all over the world—including Britain and Canada—who had come to America for higher quality healthcare.


Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.