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Ben Carson to give speech, receive award on medical freedom

Retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson will speak to members of the American Medical Association on Saturday as he is honored for advocacy of "freedom-based" health reform.

The group Doctors for Patient Freedom will present him with the Ed Annis Medical Freedom Award at the AMA's interim meeting at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor.

The award recognizes comments Carson made at the National Prayer Breakfast in February suggesting that Americans establish and contribute to individual health savings accounts that can be passed along to future generations.

"We thank Dr. Carson for his courage in reaching out directly to patients to let them know there are far better ways to achieve high quality, lower cost health care than a large government program," Dr. David McKalip, a co-founder of Doctors for Patient Freedom, said in a statement.

The AMA is not affiliated with the event or the award, spokesman Robert Mills said. The AMA is holding a convention Nov. 14-16 in National Harbor.

The prayer breakfast speech vaulted Carson onto lists of possible Republican presidential candidates for his plainspoken opinions on issues including the national debt and what he called the "moral decay" of the country. It also stirred controversy because the comments were made on a stage shared with President Barack Obama and at an event that traditionally has avoided political discussions.

Carson retired from his position as head of pediatric neurosurgery this summer and last month was hired by Fox News to be an on-air commentator.

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