Monday, August 22, 2005

Newt on Healthcare

John Hawkins interviewed Newt Gingrich.
Transcript is online.

John Hawkins: ... Health Care in this country is certainly expensive and a lot of people are uncovered. Briefly, what do you think we need to do to fix it?

Newt Gingrich: Well, I’m giving a speech today at the National Press Club on transforming the Medicaid system and I’m going to say that my goal should be for every American to have health insurance coverage. We should start by vouchering Medicaid money so that people who are the healthy poor can go out and buy insurance and be part of the insurance pool. We should then provide tax credits for the working poor and small businesses and then the current tax deductibility for everybody above that.

We should apply the same tax deductibility whether you personally want to buy your own insurance or whether you buy it through a company. Right now as you know the bias is against those who want to buy their own insurance and in favor of those who go to work for somebody else and I think everybody should have the same tax advantage in buying health insurance.

I also think that if you focus on health savings accounts where people have an incentive to save, an incentive to manage their own health, that you can dramatically bring down the cost of health care by giving people engaged in better health behaviors and better health activities. I think in that process that you have the right to know price and quality before you make a decision. Also you get to be an informed purchaser of health just as you are any other part of American life.

John Hawkins: What do you think about the idea that the Wall Street Journal recently brought up about having health care companies from all around the country able to compete for the business of anybody in a single state?

Newt Gingrich: I think we should create a national health care market. You know, all the big companies exist under what’s called a (inaudible) in a national market and I think that you ought to have the same right to buy into that kind of market if you want to. I mean, if you want to stay in your state’s mandated requirements, that’s fine, but that ought to be a choice for you, (instead of being a) captive of your state legislature.

Ziiinng! Right over their heads! And Gingrich has been saying stuff like this for years. I am amazed that he keeps getting away with it. I suppose nobody thinks it has a chance so he can dance as much as he wants in an ivory tower. I can hear it now...Oh, that's just Newt, waxing poetic again.

National health care market...bigger incentives for the working poor...vouchers, already...federal authority over states' rights....If this is conservatism, then color me red!

The comments thread is a study in backbiting, ad hominem arguments and other snarky rejoinders. I didn't have the energy or time to wade through it. (Over a hundered entries and growing...)

(Thanks, Anchoress . And prayers for her and her family.)

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