Newt Gingrich – Crystal ball cloudy on health reform

Newt Gingrich, who considers himself a “top prospect” for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, was in Raleigh this week. He’s been here before.

Five years ago, Newt blew into Raleigh to talk at the Emerging Issues Forum about health care reform (for a $40,000 speaking fee and with substantial corporate sponsorship). What pearls of wisdom did solon Newt bequeath lowly North Carolinians, many of whom make only $40,000 a year? Well, his main idea was to split up and privatize (“voucherize”) Medicaid, NC health program for low-income people.

Newt’s crystal ball was a little hazy on this point. Three more years of the Bush Administration didn’t dismantle the Medicaid program and now health reform strengthens it by expanding Medicaid to be the first real health care safety net Americans have ever had. Being poor and losing everything at least means you won’t lose the ability to go to the doctor if you get sick.

The polishing cloth could have come out for Newt too on his other bromide that day: “The real problem with the uninsured comes from people at the higher incomes who choose not to have coverage.” Whoops! While health reform does require people to buy coverage (score one here for Newt), after a year of health reform debate, most people realize the real problem is that people either are charged outrageous prices by insurance companies because of pre-existing health conditions, or work in a small business that can’t afford 30% rate hikes every two years, or just don’t make enough to pay average $500/mo premiums.

The discussion in 2005 shows just how far we’ve come in 2010 in the public understanding of how health insurance companies and health care don’t work in our country. Thankfully, we ignored Gingrich’s more radical ideas and chose a middle course on reform where we kept the private health insurance system but increased regulation and strengthened the public safety net to set floors and guarantee coverage. Newt may be a top prospect, at least in his own mind, but at least his crazier health care ideas are consigned to the bench.





  1. IBXer

    January 14, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    “Thankfully, we ignored Gingrich’s more radical ideas and chose a middle course on reform where we kept the private health insurance system but increased regulation and strengthened the public safety net to set floors and guarantee coverage.”

    CBO is saying that the current plans in Congress (the Senate Bill to be exact) will still have 25 million uninsured in 2020.

    That means we are raising $1.4 trillion in new taxes to cover roughly 10 million people. That is $140,000 per person being covered.

  2. James

    January 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Gingrich’s most recent ex-wife says he ditched her eight months after finding out she had multiple sclerosis. Marianne Gingrich, 48, shopping a book proposal “both personal and political” about how women are treated in D.C., says the ex-speaker of the House told her on Mother’s Day 1999 that he wanted a divorce, after learning she had a neurological condition that could lead to MS. In 1981, the former Congressman told his other ex-wife, Jackie Battley, that he was dumping her, after she had been hospitalized with cancer. Newt, 57, will wed ex-congressional aide Callista Bisek, 34 — with whom he had an affair while still married to Marianne — on Aug. 18.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cheryl Jones, GOP news, Erica, Michael Obama, Jeff Bush and others. Jeff Bush said: http://bit.ly/2rPHjr Newt Gingrich – Crystal ball cloudy on health reform: Newt Gingrich, who considers himself a … http://bit.ly/6m90Vj […]

  4. jennyro

    January 15, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Thanks for updating the status on Medical Insurance industry today. But there Low cost medical coverage on group, family, or individual available at http://bit.ly/68ShhE

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