11 years ago
apparently now to stupid. Especially after the commercial with the Wicked
Witch of the West.
Gingrich?s Big Flip-Flop: Was For Insurance Mandate Before He Was Against
Monday, 16 May 2011 07:43 PM
By David A. Patten
Newt Gingrich was for the individual mandate for health insurance before he
was against it -? that was the impression given Monday in a John Kerry-
esque video that the former House Speaker?s campaign staff hurriedly
released to quell a firestorm of criticism about comments he made Sunday on
"Meet the Press."
During that appearance, Gingrich told NBC?s David Gregory he still backed a
requirement that every citizen purchase health insurance or post a bond for
insurance. The stipulation that every citizen must purchase health
insurance or pay a penalty is a core provision of the Obamacare health care
Gingrich also sharply attacked GOP Rep. Paul Ryan?s plan to rein in
entitlements. Gingrich called Ryan?s plan ?radical? and an example of
?right-wing social engineering.?
Since then, Gingrich has tried to modify his attack on Ryan?s plan, as well
as his support for the individual mandate.
In the campaign video released today, Gingrich insists: ?I am completely
opposed to the Obamacare mandate on individuals. I fought it for two and a
half years at the Center for Health Transformation.
?You can see all the things we did to stop it at HealthTransformation.net.
I am for the repeal of Obamacare. I?m against any effort to impose a
federal mandate on anyone, because it is fundamentally wrong, and I
But some analysts say Gingrich appears to be parsing words. In his new
statement, Gingrich says he opposes a ?federal mandate? requiring
individuals to buy health insurance, but leaves the door wide open for
states to impose such mandates.
In previous comments about mandates, Gingrich did not stress any
distinction between a federal and state mandated program. In an email sent
to the former House Speaker, Newsmax posed seven detailed questions,
including how Gingrich would require every citizen in the United States to
get health insurance or post a bond, if he didn?t enforce the mandate at
the federal level.
Although Gingrich offered no specific responses to the questions submitted,
his press secretary, Rick Tyler, stated in his e-mail reply: ?Newt is one
of the most vocal critics against Obamacare and has called for its full
repeal. He is also against a federal individual mandate.?
And a review of Gingrich?s statements, articles, and websites shows that,
contrary to the tenor of his video, he has not been consistently forceful
in his criticism of Obama?s insurance mandate.
Posted on the HealthTransformation.net site Gingrich references is a 2007
op-ed he penned for the Des Moines Register, which states: ?Citizens should
not be able to cheat their neighbors by not buying insurance, particularly
when they can afford it, and expect others to pay for their care when they
?However, an individual mandate must take one?s income into account, and
more importantly, it is an acceptable option only when the larger
healthcare system has been fundamentally changed. It is unjust to require
an individual to buy into a broken and dysfunctional system.?
Many conservatives aren?t pleased with Gingrich?s nuanced position. The
influential American Spectator blog headlined Monday that ?Gingrich, Romney
Implode on Healthcare.?
The Spectator editorial read: ?Incredibly, Gingrich went on Meet the Press
to declare his liberal/statist Republican credentials by saying: ?I am for
people, individuals -- exactly like automobile insurance -- individuals
having health insurance and being required to have health insurance.?
?To which one can only ask, astonished of a man reputed to be a
conservative: While every American is born with their health, which of us
is born with a car??
Conservative MSNBC commentator Patrick J. Buchanan, who served as a White
House adviser to presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, said on the Morning
Joe program that Gingrich?s remarks meant ?writing off today 75 percent of
the Republican Party, which has as a major issue overturning that in the
In an e-mail to Newsmax on Monday, Buchanan added that by rebuking Rep.
Ryan?s Medicare reforms, Gingrich had ?trashed the entire Republican
majority in the House that voted for it.?
Clearly, Gingrich also has advocated for the government to offer subsidies
or vouchers under his program for those who can?t afford mandated
insurance. Gingrich has been mum as to who will pay for such a subsidy
According to the Heritage Foundation, the subsidies to the uninsured for
health care coverage are the most expensive single component of Obamacare,
and will cost over $460 billion by 2019.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV on Monday, pollster Scott
Rasmussen tells Newsmax that expressing support for the individual mandate
would be enough to remove Gingrich from consideration for the GOP
nomination, as far as conservatives are concerned.
The political impact of Gingrich?s opposition to the Ryan plan is less
certain, he says, because many Republican voters are squeamish issuing
vouchers to seniors so they can purchase insurance on the open market.
?So it?s not as disqualifying,? Rasmussen says. ?But he?s sure not looking
like a team player. He?s challenging them just as they?re trying to re-
introduce this topic. I don?t know quite what Speaker Gingrich is doing
with this one. [Former Mass. Gov.] Mitt Romney, you have an understanding
why he was trying what he did. But Speaker Gingrich, [I?m] not sure what he
gains from yesterday?s comments.?
Author, Democratic pollster, and Fox News commentator Doug Schoen voices
?I don't get Newt's strategy,? he tells Newsmax. ?He is a man of towering
intellect and ability, to be sure. But he doesn't appear to have a clear
plan or strategy to win the nomination.?
Huffington Post correspondent Sam Stein recently wrote that Gingrich, over
a long period of time, ?has been a vocal champion for mandated insurance
coverage.? Among the examples he cited:
? Gingrich teamed up with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in 2005 to
promote a bipartisan solution to spiraling healthcare costs. A July 2005
Hotline article reported that Gingrich supported not only the state-level
mandates that have complicated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney?s
electoral plans, but also ?some federal mandates? as well.
? According to Stein, the Detroit Free Press reported that Gingrich, in an
April 2006 speech to the Greater Detroit Area Health Council?s Health
Trends Conference, supported requiring American?s above a certain income
level to buy health ?Finally, we should insist that everyone above a certain level buy coverage
(or, if they are opposed to insurance, post a bond). Meanwhile, we should
provide tax credits or subsidize private insurance for the poor.?
Critics say that in apparently supporting a non-federal variation of the
individual mandate, Gingrich wants it both ways: He opposes Obamacare and
has called on Congress to defund it, but supports a variation of the
individual mandate that is so critical to the functioning of Obamacare that
one federal judge declared the entire bill null and void, after determining
the individual mandate was unconstitutional.
Even some Democrats have conceded that without the individual mandate on a
federal level, the rest of the president?s healthcare reform legislation
just doesn?t work.
University of Virginia Center for Politics director and author Dr. Larry
Sabato tells Newsmax that Gingrich?s criticism of the Ryan plan suggests he
is tacking to the middle on Medicare, a move that might make sense if
Gingrich had already captured the GOP nomination.
?But Gingrich has a steep uphill climb to the nomination,? Sabato tells
Newsmax. ?Separating himself from the Ryan plan, which was backed by all
but a handful of the Republican House members and appears to be supported
by the GOP activist base, doesn?t make a heck of a lot of sense. Moreover,
Gingrich appeared to endorse the Ryan plan earlier, so now a flip-flopping
charge is larded on top of the other problems.?