The EFM Feature

Here’s a snippet of a letter that Newt Gingrich wrote in 2006, from NRO’s The Corner:

The most exciting development of the past few weeks is what has been happening up in Massachusetts. The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system.

We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100% insurance coverage for all Americans. Individuals without coverage often do not receive quality medical attention on par with those who do have insurance. We also believe strongly that personal responsibility is vital to creating a 21st Century Intelligent Health System. Individuals who can afford to purchase health insurance and simply choose not to place an unnecessary burden on a system that is on the verge of collapse; these free-riders undermine the entire health system by placing the onus of responsibility on taxpayers.

The Romney plan attempts to bring everyone into the system. The individual mandate requires those who earn enough to afford insurance to purchase coverage, and subsidies will be made available to those individuals who cannot afford insurance on their own. We agree strongly with this principle, but the details are crucial when it comes to the structure of this plan. Under the new bill, Massachusetts residents earning more than 300% of the federal poverty level (approximately $30,000 for an individual) will not be eligible for any subsidies. State House officials had originally promised that there would be new plans available at about $200 a month, but industry experts are now predicting that the cheapest plan will likely cost at least $325 a month. This estimate totals about $4000 per year, or about 1/5 of a $30,000 annual take-home income.

While in theory the plan should be affordable if the whole state contributes to the cost, the reality is that Massachusetts has an exhaustive list of health coverage regulations prohibiting insurers from offering more basic, pared-down policies with higher deductibles. (This is yet another reminder that America must establish a cross-state insurance market that gives individuals the freedom to shop for insurance plans in states other than their own.)

In our estimation, Massachusetts residents earning little more than $30,000 a year are in jeopardy of being priced out of the system. In the event that this occurs, Governor Romney will be in grave danger of repeating the mistakes of his predecessor, Mike Dukakis, whose 1988 health plan was hailed as a save-all but eventually collapsed when poorly-devised payment structures created a malaise of unfulfilled promises. We propose that a more realistic approach might be to limit the mandate to those individuals earning upwards of $54,000 per year.

While the Commonwealth’s plan will naturally endure tremendous scrutiny from those who assert that the law will not work as intended, Massachusetts leaders are to be commended for this bipartisan proposal to tackle the enormous challenge of finding real solutions for creating a sustainable health system. I hope that Massachusetts’ initiative to provide affordable, quality health insurance for all continues to ignite even more debate around the subject of how to best address our nation’s uninsured crisis and the critical problems within the health system at large.

Of course, this radically differs from the criticism he’s lodged at his rival in the debates.


Comments and Discussion

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6 Responses to In 2006, Newt was a Huge Fan of Romney’s Health Care Plan

  1. Sherri Voebel says:

    This April 2006 document has been deleted from Newt Gingrich web site. The WSJ article is available to subscription members only. Thank goodness for the Internet Archive Wayback Machine – a way to recover old web documents that have been deleted.

    Thanks for posting.
    Sherri Voebel

    • Brandon fro says:

      Indeed, I almost forgot about that handy tool. It sure is amazing what people can have access to nowadays, you or I included.

  2. Terry says:

    I heard a news clip on the Rush Limbaugh show today (Mark Belling filling in for Rush). Newt stated that he would like to challenge Mitt to an hour and a half debate before they leave Iowa behind. Doesn’t like Mitts “attack” ads, I guess. I predict that Romney will never do it, and that Newt will try to make a big deal of Romney’s refusal.

  3. robert says:

    Mitt handled that very well Terry as he said it is not fair to other candidates to arrogantly dismiss them as irrelevant! My real issue with Newt has never been address and perhaps this site has taken it on: First that Newt quit. He was elected by Georgia represent and once he lost his speakership he up and quit. To me this is a big deal! Second and perhaps the closest to my heart is the departure from Christian reformation. As a historian he must be aware of Tyndall and Wycliff and Luther’s fight to correct Catholic oppression. Newt must be aware of the great Inquisitions in Spain and other regions of the world. Newt’s relationship with Callista (a Catholic) is viewed as appeasement to seal their marriage and therefore another compromise to get what he wanted. Please don’t think I have problems with Catholic’s… I do not. This comment is to honor their belief in Marriage covenants! I think marriage is so sacred to them that is further proof of his intellectual self serving elitist mind. He is convinced it solves a problem and allows him to defend himself before the church and his God while satisfying his wife’s request. So Newt divorced a women after living in sin for six year (with a Catholic determined to marry under her church.s i.e. Gods blessing) remember the church (opposed to divorce) This is a kin to Newt solving King Henry’s dilemma with the Catholic church and chuckling as he gets away with it! It reeeeeeks with imperialism that he views himself positioned to debate God!

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