The Newt Gingrich Approach to Health Reform

Newt Gingrich speaks at CPAC on February 10, 2011.
National Journal
Sophie Novack
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Sophie Novack
Nov. 24, 2013, 7:01 a.m.

For Newt Gin­grich, health care re­form is a lot like space travel.

At a time when the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is strug­gling to im­ple­ment the pres­id­ent’s sig­na­ture health care law, and Re­pub­lic­ans have yet to co­alesce around a feas­ible al­tern­at­ive, the former Re­pub­lic­an Speak­er and cur­rent CNN Cross­fire host is com­ing for­ward with his own pro­pos­al for health care re­form.

For those who re­call his 2012 pres­id­en­tial cam­paign pitch to es­tab­lish a colony on the moon, the fact that Gin­grich’s idea is heavy on fu­ture in­nov­a­tion and light on cur­rent policy real­ity will not come as a sur­prise.

Gin­grich’s new book, Break­out, ex­plains the need to fo­cus on in­nov­at­ive sci­entif­ic re­search and cures. He sets up a du­al­ity between what he calls the “pi­on­eers of the fu­ture” and “pris­on guards of the past.” The pi­on­eers he defines as sci­ent­ists across the coun­try that are de­vel­op­ing in­nov­at­ive treat­ments; the pris­on guards are lob­by­ists, bur­eau­crats, and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, which he says in­hib­it these break­throughs.

“The slow­ness and un­will­ing­ness of CBO and OMB on the one hand, and CMS and FDA on oth­er hand, to de­vel­op and work with and be prac­tic­al about these kinds of in­nov­a­tions is a ma­jor prob­lem,” he told Na­tion­al Journ­al.

Gin­grich de­scribes the need to both ac­cel­er­ate re­search and make pa­tients more aware of their own med­ic­al in­form­a­tion. In­vest­ing in areas like neur­os­cience re­search and re­gen­er­at­ive medi­cine will save money and im­prove con­sumer health, he says.

“The po­ten­tial is so enorm­ous be­cause the cost is so great. If you want to talk about en­ti­tle­ment re­form, a break­through in Alzheimer’s saves more money in 30 or 35 years than any con­ceiv­able re­form that the Con­gress is go­ing to ad­opt,” he said. “Ima­gine a world not many years from now, where in­stead of get­ting kid­ney dia­lys­is, you’ll just get a new kid­ney. It’s cheap­er over the long run and gives you a much high­er qual­ity of life.”

Of course, Gin­grich’s idea is not ac­tu­ally an Obama­care al­tern­at­ive — in­vest­ing in in­nov­at­ive health care de­vel­op­ments does not pre­clude the need for a health care sys­tem, or for re­forms to our cur­rent mod­el. If people are get­ting new kid­neys, doc­tors still need to carry out the pro­ced­ure.

Yet while he com­pares Obama­care to the Ti­tan­ic, he says his idea could ex­ist in tan­dem with a the­or­et­ic­al GOP health care pro­pos­al, which he be­lieves is soon to come.

Gin­grich says that pre­vi­ously the Re­pub­lic­an strategy was at­tack­ing the law, fol­lowed by “star­ing in awe” at the rol­lout. “I think you’re start­ing to see from Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Can­tor and oth­ers a real ef­fort to be­gin to say look, we’re go­ing to have to come back pre­pared with our re­place­ment, not just be against Obama­care,” he said.

Gin­grich em­phas­izes the need for cit­izens to put pres­sure on their rep­res­ent­at­ives to con­vince them of the im­port­ance of his pro­pos­al.

So will this ap­proach re­ceive the same push­back as his moon colony idea?

“The ques­tion is not wheth­er or not the hu­man race is go­ing to go in­to space, the ques­tion is wheth­er or not the U.S. is go­ing to play a lead­ing role,” he re­spon­ded. “And I think the same thing is true here. You know, we’re go­ing to get to re­gen­er­at­ive medi­cine. The ques­tion is wheth­er we do it in the United States, or wheth­er we do it over­seas.”

What We're Following See More »
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
BUSINESSES CAN’T PLEAD FIFTH
Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

SAYS THEY CHEATED TESTS
Government Sues Fiat Chrysler Over Emissions
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

The government alleges the company put eight “software-based features” on diesel engines in nearly 104,000 Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 2014 to 2016 model years, which allowed the vehicles to emit fewer pollutants during EPA lab tests than during normal driving conditions.

Source:
DETAILS ARE CLASSIFIED
Brennan Saw Russia Intelligence “Worthy” of Investigation
14 hours ago
THE LATEST

At an open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA chief John Brennan said he saw information on Trump-Russia contacts that were worth a further look. "Having been involved in many counterintelligence cases in the past, I know what the Russians do. They try to suborn individuals," Brennan said. "And they try to get individuals, including U.S. persons, to act on their behalf, whether wittingly or unwittingly. And I was worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons, and so therefore by the time I left office ... I had unresolved questions in my mind."

Source:
STAFF HAS COMPILED A SHORT LIST
Trump Enlisting Help of Outside Counsel
15 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump is moving rapidly toward assembling outside counsel to help him navigate the investigations into his campaign and Russian interference in last year’s election, and in recent days he and his advisers have privately courted several prominent attorneys to join the effort. By Monday, a list of finalists for the legal team had emerged, according to four people briefed on the discussions."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login