Slavery, 9/11, And VA Scandal: Ben Carson’s Obamacare Comparisons


Conservative favorite and neurosurgeon Ben Carson jumped into the 2016 presidential race on Monday and, like any self-respecting GOPer, he has a healthy dislike for Obamacare. But Carson has made Obamacare comparisons that his 2016 competitors haven’t.

Here are the top three things Carson said President Barack Obama’s healthcare law is on par with:


Carson has argued that Obamacare is the worst thing that’s happened to the United States since slavery.

“I have to tell you Obamacare is, really I think, the worst thing that’s happened in this nation since slavery,” Carson said during his speech at the Values Voters Summit in 2013.

In an interview with Roland Martin a few days later Carson was asked if he went too far.

“That’s my opinion,” Carson said. “First of all, I recognize that slavery was a horrible thing…I realize how horrible it was…I didn’t say this is as bad as slavery, I said this is the worst thing since slavery.”

About a year later, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Carson said that Obamacare and slavery aren’t exactly the same thing.

“However, what needs to be understood here, the people, we the people, were set up at the pinnacle of power,” Carson said in that interview. “The government is supposed to conform to our will. By taking the most important thing you have —your health, and your healthcare— and turning that over to the government, you fundamentally shift the power, a huge chunk of it from the people to the government. This is not the direction that we want to go in this nation.”

The comment is especially curious given the many things that have happened since the abolishment of slavery in the U.S. National Journal listed a few: Pearl Harbor, The Great Depression, the Vietnam War, and Japanese internment, not to mention more recent disasters.

September 11

In an interview with Evan Gahr of The Daily Beast, Carson suggested that Obamacare is arguably worse than the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, given the long term impact of Obamacare. During that interview, Carson’s manager, conservative radio host Armstrong Williams, frequently interrupted.

Me: “Who do you think caused families more pain—Obamacare or Osama bin Laden?”

Carson: “Let me explain.”

Williams: “Let him answer the question!”

Carson: “Things that are isolated issues as opposed to things that fundamentally change the United Sates of America and shift power from the people to the government. That is a huge shift.”

Me: “Right. But what do you think caused specific families more pain—Obamacare or Osama?”

Carson: “You have to take a long term.”

Me: “You’re not answering the question.”

Carson: “Will you listen? You have to take a long-term look at something that fundamentally changes the power structure of America. You have to be someone who reads. Who is well-read. I want you to go back tonight and pull out what Saul Alinsky says about health care under the control of the government.”

Williams later told The Daily Caller that Carson’s comments were being misrepresented.

“He thinks that’s crazy,” Williams said. “You can’t compare anything to 9/11.”

Veterans Affairs scandal

Carson called the Veterans Affairs scandal a “gift from god” because it’s useful for criticizing Obamacare.

“If we can’t get it right with the relatively small number of veterans, how in the world are you going to do it with the entire population?” Carson said.

Carson was pressed about those comments in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon.

“Well, let me tell you exactly what that means, because most people know exactly what I’m talking about,” Carson said. “It demonstrates to us very easily, without a lot of subterfuge, what happens when you place layers and layers of bureaucrats between patients and between the health care providers. It gives it —it makes it crystal clear what’s going to happen. That’s why it’s a gift from god, to be able to show that to people.”