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Newt Gingrich on Health Care

Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House


Government healthcare looks into abyss & moves to tyranny

Q: Speaker Gingrich has said during your tenure as governor, you required Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims. Did you?

ROMNEY: No, absolutely not. That was entirely voluntary on their part.

GINGRICH: Well, the reports were that the public health department was prepared to give a waiver to Catholic hospitals about a morning-after abortion pill, and that the governor's office issued explicit instructions saying that they believed it wasn't possible under Massachusetts law. When you have government as the central provider of services, you inevitably move towards tyranny. You inevitably--and this is true whether it's RomneyCare or ObamaCare or any other government centralized system--you inevitably move towards the coercion of the state, & the state saying, "If you don't do what we, the politicians, have defined, you will be punished." That's why we are at an enormous crossroads in this country. We're now looking at an abyss that forces you to change.

Source: CNN's 2012 GOP Debate on eve of Arizona Primary , Feb 22, 2012

Rick Santorum's healthcare stances compared to Newt's

OnTheIssues' paperback book explores how Rick Santorum's healthcare stances differ from Newt Gingrich's, and where they are similar. We cite details from Sen. Santorum's books and speeches, and Newt's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Rick Santorum vs. Newt Gingrich on Domestic Issues

Source: Paperback: Santorum vs. Gingrich On The Issues , Jan 8, 2012

1993: I am for an individual health insurance requirement

Who first proposed making health insurance compulsory?

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. In the late 1980s, when Democrats were pushing to require employers to provide health insurance, the Foundation started thinking about ways to achieve universal coverage without placing a heavy burden on business. The Heritage Foundation suggested that every American be required to buy health insurance, a requirement known as the individual mandate.

Which politicians took up that idea?

Many Republicans did in the early 1990s, after President Clinton introduced a plan that would have forced companies to cover employees. "I am for people, individuals--exactly like automobile insurance--having health insurance and being required to have health insurance, said Newt Gingrich, then House minority whip, in 1993.

Source: The Week, "A Mandate for Controversy", p. 13 , Dec 23, 2011

HillaryCare mandate ok; ObamaCare mandate unconstitutional

BACHMANN: You'd have to go back to 1993 when Newt first advocated for the individual mandate in healthcare, and as recently as May of this year, he was still advocating for the individual mandate in healthcare.

GINGRICH: In 1993, in fighting HillaryCare, virtually every conservative saw the mandate as a less-dangerous future than what Hillary was trying to do. After HillaryCare disappeared it became more and more obvious that mandates have all sorts of problems built into them. People gradually tried to find other techniques. I frankly was floundering, trying to find a way to make sure that people who could afford it were paying their hospital bills while still leaving an out so libertarians to not buy insurance. And that's what we're wrestling with. It's now clear that the mandate, I think, is clearly unconstitutional. But, it started as a conservative effort to stop HillaryCare in the 1990s.

Source: Yahoo's "Your Voice Your Vote" debate in Iowa , Dec 10, 2011

No mandatory premium support model; give people choices

Paul Ryan would fundamentally change Medicare by getting younger Americans into a premium support model--I do not favor a mandatory premium support model. I want us back into the habit of giving Americans a range of choices so people have those choices in the free market that would beat out the bureaucratic system. They need to go to something because it is better for them not because the government forced them. Americans are not going to let politicians impose things on them.

We have to come up with solutions that are actually BETTER than what the government would force on you. Look at WalMart, people shop there because they think they will get a good deal.

We need to defeat so many entrenched elements of the Left that we have to convince Americans that we represent a better future than the Left does.

We have to get to a better health system before we get to an affordable health system.

Source: Head-to-head debate between Herman Cain & Newt Gingrich , Nov 5, 2011

Medicare pays crooks; contract it out to private companies

CAIN [to Gingrich]: When you treat [medical costs] like it is your money, that is how you wean people off expecting that someone else will pay for it and it will be someone else's money.

GINGRICH: I wrote a book in 2002 called Saving Lives and Saving Money, and I outlined what to do. Washington will do three stupid things instead of one smart thing. I just put on the table trillions of dollars that would be saved by not paying crooks. Why is it so hard to not penalize good people before you stop paying crooks? You can take existing IBM technology and use it to stop paying crooks. Why is it so hard to say you can turn this around and pass a bill to contract out to American Express, VISA, and IBM to handle Medicare payments and in 60 days you would save a TRILLION DOLLARS.

Source: Head-to-head debate between Herman Cain & Newt Gingrich , Nov 5, 2011

Block grant Medicaid; create individual incentives & bonuses

Q: What about Medicaid?

GINGRICH: Go to Newt.org for the proposed 21st Century Contract with America. The first step is to repeal Obamacare. [Then] block grant Medicaid. And block grant all remaining welfare programs. Give the states the power to deal with the poor using innovation and money savings. I do not believe you solve problems under the Left's policy of people being helpless. We need to rethink Medicaid much the way we rethought welfare reform. Governor Bush in Florida had a program where people who took care of themselves and didn't go to the emergency room got a Christmas bonus. To the shock of academics, poor people were aware of money and strived to get that bonus by not abusing the emergency rooms. If you had the ability to triage and send people to minute clinics, then the hospital wouldn't charge emergency room rates. We have to start distinguishing between the taxpayer who is concerned with charitable care and taxpayers who are suckers and are being exploited.

Source: Head-to-head debate between Herman Cain & Newt Gingrich , Nov 5, 2011

Rampant Medicaid/Medicare fraud: stop paying the crooks

Q: You all support balancing the budget! But what entitlements would you go after?

Santorum: I am the only candidate that wrote & helped pass a bill (welfare) that actually ended a federal entitlement with Democratic votes. Leadership!

Gingrich: Block grant Medicaid and send it back to the states as Rep. Paul Ryan suggested.

Santorum: I was the first candidate to embrace the Ryan plan without exception. Send Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other means-tested entitlements to the states.

Cain: I would focus on major entitlement reform. This would focus on programs similar to Social Security.

Gingrich: Also, fraud in Medicaid and Medicare are rampant. We should stop paying the crooks.

Santorum: And of course repeal Obamacare before it does even more damage to our economy and our freedom

Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on Twitter.com , Jul 21, 2011

If you mandate healthcare, you mandate everything in life

Q: You've been very open to the individual mandate. It has become a litmus test in this Republican primary. Should it be?

A: Yes, it should be. If you explore the mandate, it ultimately ends up with unconstitutional powers. It allows the government to define virtually everything. And if you can do it for health care, you can do it for everything in your life, and, therefore, we should not have a mandate.

But I want to answer at a different level. This campaign cannot be only about the presidency. We need to pick up at least 12 seats in the Senate and 30 or 40 more seats in the House, because if you are serious about repealing Obamacare, you have to be serious about building a big enough majority in the legislative branch that you could actually in the first 90 days pass the legislation. So I just think it's very important to understand, it's not about what one person in America does. It's about what the American people do. And that requires a senatorial majority, as well as a presidency.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

House GOP Medicare plan was right-wing social engineering

Q: Rep. Ryan says squeeze a lot of savings across the federal budget, including a lot out of Medicare to turn it into a voucher program. Your initial reaction to the Ryan plan was that it's radical right-wing social engineering. Then you backtracked. Why?

GINGRICH: [A reporter asked] a narrow question: Should Republicans impose an unpopular bill on the American people? Now, I actually wrote a newsletter supporting the Ryan budget. And those words were taken totally out of context. If you're dealing with something as big as Medicare and you can't have a conversation with the country where the country thinks what you're doing is the right thing, you better slow down. Remember, we all got mad at Obama because he ran over us. Well, th Republicans ought to follow the same ground rule. If you can't convince the American people it's a good idea, maybe it's not a good idea. There are certain things I would do different than Paul Ryan on Medicare. I agree strongly with him on Medicaid.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

Tort Reform: Impose "loser pays" rules; cap punitive damages

Gingrich has been a clear and consistent advocate for lawsuit abuse reform for years. The "Common Sense Legal Reform Act" was part of the Contract with America in 1994, but was vetoed by Pres. Clinton. The bill would have reformed the tort system by penalizing frivolous and predatory lawsuits by imposing "loser pays" rules and capping punitive damages.

More recently, Gingrich has supported tort reform in the context of health care reform and cost-containment. In 2009, Gingrich said, "The plain and simple truth is that leaving the tort system 'as is' ignores more than $200 billion in potential savings annually in health care." Specifically, Gingrich cited statistics pertaining to the expensive and wasteful practice of "defensive medicine," in which doctors perform unnecessary tests solely to protect themselves from predatory lawsuits. In 2002, Gingrich called for a cap on "pain and suffering" awards in medical malpractice suits.

Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #1: Gingrich , May 24, 2011

Repeal ObamaCare; sign tort reform instead

    President Obama could be bipartisan. There are seven steps to the center for Obama.
  1. Sign the repeal of ObamaCare. 58% of the American people, in the most recent poll, favor repeal of ObamaCare.
  2. Sign Tort reform for doctors. He said the other night he would like to do it, let's let him do it.
  3. Sign the permanent repeal of the death tax.
  4. Sign a new Hyde Amendment, so no tax payer money funds abortion in the United States.
  5. Sign a new Conservative Budget Act, to control spending and move to a balanced budget.
  6. Sign a law to decisively control the border now.
  7. Sign a tenth amendment implementation act returning power from Washington to the states and to the people thereof. And that act should include--to prove how real it is-- block-granting Medicaid so that states can control the cost and improve the quality without interference from Washington bureaucrats.
Now, I hope you'd agree with me that a President Obama that did those seven things would have come to the center.
Source: Speech at 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 11, 2011

$151B wasted annually to avoid malpractice lawsuits

To encourage young people to pursue medical careers, we must have litigation reform.

If we want Americans to emphasize cooperation and problem solving over acrimonious, costly conflicts, we must have litigation reform.

Most Americans agree there are too many lawyers filing too many lawsuits, especially in medicine.

An estimated $151-210 billion is wasted annually in defensive medicine, as doctors follow unnecessary procedures and conduct needless tests and services solely to avoid malpractice lawsuits.

In preparing for health reform in 2009, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that litigation reform in medical malpractice would save the federal government $53 billion over ten years.

For most doctors and businesses, litigation reform is important but it's not dire. But for the trial lawyers--the reactionary defenders of the old order--this is a life-or-death issue.

Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 27-28 , May 17, 2010

Focus on Availability, Affordability, and Appropriateness

Everyday Americans do not focus on the nuances of insurance collectives & industry jargon. Rather, they ask the simple questions:As we consider the best way to transform our healthcare system, we must assure access includes these elements.
  1. Availability: A 21st century healthcare system must use creative initiatives like medical education debt forgiveness.
  2. Affordability: There is a waste and inefficiency across the entire spectrum of discovery, development and delivery of healthcare.
  3. Delivery: The system of product delivery today is plagued by fraud and abuse, contributing to a dramatic waste of money, time, talent, and expertise.
  4. Appropriateness: Radically transform healthcare so that treatment is no longer based on population medicine, but on personalized medicine. This can begin with modernizing the FDA.
Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p.199-202 , May 17, 2010

$600B to $850B in healthcare waste every year

Every year we taxpayers pay $70-120 billion to crooks through Medicare and Medicaid alone. Fraud, waste, and abuse in our healthcare sector are more pervasive than people think--they constituted a third or more of the $2.5 trillion spent on healthcare services in 2009. The overall American health care system wastes $600-850 billion every year. Here's the breakdown:Consider this: the federal department that oversees Medicaid cannot even accurately measure the extent of the problem. As the old saying goes, "You can't manage what you can't measure."
Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p.217-220 , May 17, 2010

21st-century personalized intelligent health system

In a 21st-century, personalized, intelligent health system, individuals have accurate, timely, personalized knowledge about their health and treatment options. A key test for any new system is its ability to provide affordable access to quality care for the poorest and sickest among us. The elimination of health disparities must be a critical goal: no American can be left out. The new system has many characteristics, which can be distilled into three major components:
  1. Centered on the Individual
  2. Information Technology and Quality
  3. Health, Not Health Care
Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p.227-238 , Dec 18, 2007

Focus on health as a moral issue

After I stepped down as Speaker, I became involved in another long-term project: reforming the nation's health care system. Health is the largest sector of the economy; it is literally a matter of individual life and death, and in the case of a pandemic or an engineered biological or nuclear attack, it could be a matter of America's life and death. I began studying health issues in 1999, and since then I have not only written and lectured extensively on health, but I also helped create the Center for Health Transformation, which has become an internationally recognized leader for rethinking health policy and seeking health care solutions. I believe it will contribute significantly to a great transformation of our health system, focusing on health as a moral issue and bringing together the public and private leaders in the health field to achieve the changes the system needs.
Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p. 89 , Dec 18, 2007

Medicare opt-in to private health savings accounts

Medicare could allow beneficiaries to opt into a private health-insurance plan of their choice partially subsidized by Medicare dollars. A voucher in the amount of $2,500 annually (roughly 1/3 of what Medicare spends for the average beneficiary) would stimulate a tidal wave of innovative plan arrangements and therefore promote consumer choice. For many Americans, especially those arriving at age 65 with significant balances in their health savings accounts (HSAs) this option might be very attractive.
Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org , Dec 1, 2006

Focus 21st Century Intelligent Health System on individuals

The current health system cannot be reformed because its approach is profoundly wrong in three specific areas. First, it emphasizes acute care rather than prevention. Second, it focuses on third-party payments, an area in which the individual has little knowledge and no control. And third, it relies on paper medical records rather than information technology.

We need to transform our health care system based on an entirely new set of principles. Our new 21st Century Intelligent Health System will be built around three big changes:

  1. Move knowledge from the doctor’s office and scientific laboratory to the individual as rapidly as possible;
  2. Help the health care system adopt top quality information technology systems to increase productivity, accuracy, and cut costs; and
  3. Center the process of health on the informed individual so he or she can have the knowledge, desire, responsibility, and opportunity to live the longest life, with the best health, at the lowest cost.
Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org , Dec 1, 2006

Market competition yields more health choice at lower prices

Health care has been wrongly insulated from the competition that brings about higher productivity and lower cost. The issue is not that health care is different. In fact, when there is a commercial market in health care, prices behave much as they do in any industry. For example, everyone has watched the cost of laser eye surgery decline as it has grown more common, more convenient, and safer.

The lesson of nearly four hundred years of entrepreneurial, technology and science-based free market capitalism is very clear. You should expect to get more choices of higher quality at falling prices. This is the opposite of the rationing mentality of some left-wing politicians and the scarcity mentality of too many bureaucrats.

We need to bring these concepts into health and health care. We must insist that doctors, hospitals, medical technologies, and drugs have both quality and cost information available on-line so people can make informed decisions.

Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org , Dec 1, 2006

1994: Declined gov't insurance but gov't paid 75% anyway

Health care reform represented a steep learning curve for more than a few members of Congress. Given the volume of bills they are expected to vote on, most members focus on legislation related to their committee assignments and don't have time to learn the intricacies of every issue before the House or Senate. But I was surprised to encounter more than one Congressman who didn't know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, both federally funded health insurance programs. Others had no idea what kind of health insurance coverage they received from the government. Newt Gingrich contended during an appearance on Meet the Press in 1994 that he didn't have a government health insurance but bought it from Blue Cross-Blue Shield. In fact, his policy was one of many offered to federal employees through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. And the government covered 75% of the $400 monthly bill for Gingrich and other members of Congress.
Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.232 , Nov 1, 2003

Save dollars and save lives--so transform urgently

Understanding the difference between transformation and reformation is difficult. Taking a crack at transforming the health and healthcare system is daunting. The fact is transformation will not be easy. However, transforming health and heatlhcare is urgent, important, doable, and necessary.

Transforming health and healthcare is urgent, because it is about saving lives and saving money. Never before have we been at this historic moment in time where transforming a system as big as health and healthcare can and will mean so much to so many. The urgency comes from the ability to save thousands of lives every year if only we would transform the system to take advantage of the technology available to us right now.

Tranformation of healthcare is doable if we each do our share of the lifting. As an individual, become more responsible for your own health. As a user of healthcare, become proactive with your healthcare providers. As a citizen, let your voice be heard.

Source: Saving Lives and Saving Money, by Newt Gingrich, p.205 , Sep 22, 2003

System broken due to “perfect storm” of converging problems

The blockbuster 2000 hit movie, The Perfect Storm, was based on a book written about “the storm of the century” that hit off the coast of Gloucester, MA in October, 1991. The strongest storm in recorded history, this perfect storm was actually two separate storms and one hurricane that combined into a single fury of 100-foot, unnavigable seas.

America’s healthcare system is nearing the edge of its own perfect storm. The system is broken.

Source: Saving Lives and Saving Money, by Newt Gingrich, p. 13-14 , Sep 22, 2003

Tax credits for developing technology for disabilities

Medical advances are enabling people to live longer than previously possible with such conditions as spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, or Downs Syndrome. In addition, increasing numbers of people are now living into their eighties and beyond. Beyond the ethical obligation of caring for our country’s most vulnerable population, we must address the health of people with disabilities if we are to make any progress in controlling healthcare costs.

A basic principle for a 21st Century System of Health and Healthcare for people with disabilities is to keep these individuals independent for as long as possible.

We should be exploring tax credits and other financial incentives to encourage companies to develop the right technologies for people with disabilities.

Now, people who can benefit from technologies are often prevented from acquiring them because they are expensive and insurance companies are reluctant to pay for them.

Source: Saving Lives and Saving Money, by Newt Gingrich, p.196-197 , Sep 22, 2003

Re-focus Medicare on preventive health instead of sickness

The essence of why Medicare is in critical condition is that it focuses on sickness and not health. It pays for your open-heart surgery, but it will not pay for your beta-blocker. It pays to amputate your foot, but it will not pay for your insulin. It will pay for your drugs while you are in the hospital, but it will not pay for the same drugs that would have kept you out of the hospital. Not only should Medicare pay for drugs, but it should pay for your SilverSneakers membership and Weight Watchers too!

Medicare must be strengthened to include a focus on outcomes-based healthcare. Immediately drugs should be reimbursed in order to de-incentivize reactive acute care. However, the current budgetary structure is clearly biased in favor of reactive care.

It should not matter if a patient is treated in a hospital, in a doctor’s office or in their home. The flow of resources should follow the patient and not be driven by a series of bureaucratic structures.

Source: Saving Lives and Saving Money, by Newt Gingrich, p.201 , Sep 22, 2003

Market dynamics can save healthcare, not government control

Healthcare is currently one of the few industries not properly influenced by market dynamics. The essence of the problem is that the consumers (the patients) are not the buyers. They do not possess the financial leverage, which consumers have in almost every other sector of our economy, because they do not pay the bills.

Examples like the now-defunct Soviet Union have confirmed that centralized government control employing coercion through regulation or edict is not a good solution. America is the best current example of a democracy in which people loan their power to the government but remain the ultimate decision makers.

This attempt at centralized governmental control has spawned many of the raging storms we have today-- dissatisfied patients, restricted access, huge numbers of uninsured, unacceptable medical mistakes, a lack of information technology, and upwardly spiraling costs. These issues are exacerbated by our growing reliance on the government to pay for services

Source: Saving Lives and Saving Money, by Newt Gingrich, p. 22-23 , Sep 22, 2003

Focus on prevention; would save $14B with diabetes

Diabetes can be dramatically diminished as a threat to health by periodic testing & preventive education. The CDC estimates that if [diabetics] learn to monitor their blood sugar, control their diet, and generally take care of themselves, not only will their lives be immeasurably better, we will save $14 billion a year. The 1997 Medicare reforms include the first steps toward the kind of preventive health program for the nation’s diabetics that will ultimately save both lives and money.
Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p.200-201 , Jul 2, 1998

Ongoing battle against liberals nationalizing healthcare

The Clintons launched a health plan with much fanfare. When the issue was coverage for people who had no health insurance, their advocacy went well, for the government seemed a reasonable answer to the problem. When, however, the issue became one of Americans turning over their own health care to the government, that was a very different matter. What had seemed a bold gamble in 1993 was by summer, 1994 a complete bust.

But liberals never take no for an answer. By 1996 they were back with the Kennedy-Kassebaum plan. We were able to dilute it and to establish medical savings accounts; nevertheless, they had taken some steps toward more government-run health care. In 1997 the President had the idea of providing care for the poorest children. We were able to stop the Washington-based bureaucracy proposed and to ensure that any program would be run at the state level. The point is that the liberals one way and another managed to stay focused on expanding government involvement in health care.

Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p.191-192 , Jul 2, 1998

Too much reform puts 1/7 of US economy at risk

Gingrich immediately joined the opposition to the president's first legislative priority--health care reform. Unbeknownst to most Georgia voters, Gingrich had been working on health care issues for years. Where some Republicans were overwhelmed by Hillary Rodham Clinton's detailed knowledge of the work of her secret health care task force, Gingrich had been studying the issue longer.

Gingrich met with Hillary in 1984 We had a good discussion," said the Speaker-to-be. "I begged her not to go for the whole reform package that puts at risk 1/7 of the American economy. My advice was to go for four small reforms to see what worked. Try ensuring portability of health insurance when people change jobs. See that preexisting conditions are covered. Take care of malpractice and tort reform. Create medical savings accounts. That sort of thing. If she tried to do it all, she would fail."

And fail she did, in dramatic fashion a few months later, just before the historic elections to come.

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p.145 , Jun 1, 1995

Defund, repeal, & replace federal care with free market.

Gingrich signed the Contract From America

The Contract from America, clause 7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care:

Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling

Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA07 on Jul 8, 2010

Other candidates on Health Care: Newt Gingrich on other issues:
Incumbents:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Virgil Goode(C)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(AE)
Jill Stein(G)
C.G.David Walker(AE)

GOP Withdrawals:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
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Page last updated: May 31, 2012