I might not agree with Newt Gingrich in many areas, but he is at least making more sense than the other Republicans at the moment. Of course that is a pretty low bar to reach, and Gingrich has the benefit of not having had to actually cast any votes in recent years. National Review accuses Gingrich of tacking left with these comments on Meet the Press:
Newt Gingrich’s appearance on “Meet the Press” today could leave some wondering which party’s nomination he is running for. The former speaker had some harsh words for Paul Ryan’s (and by extension, nearly every House Republican’s) plan to reform Medicare, calling it “radical.”
“I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” he said when asked about Ryan’s plan to transition to a “premium support” model for Medicare. “I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.”
As far as an alternative, Gingrich trotted out the same appeal employed by Obama/Reid/Pelosi — for a “national conversation” on how to “improve” Medicare, and promised to eliminate ‘waste, fraud and abuse,’ etc.
“I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options,” Gingrich said. Ryan’s plan was simply “too big a jump.”
He even went so far as to compare it the Obama health-care plan.”I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.”
In another surprising move, Gingrich also reiterated his previous support for a “variation of the individual mandate” for health care. “I believe all of us — and this is going to be a big debate — I believe all of us have a responsibility to help pay for health care,” he said, insisting there is “a way to do it that make most libertarians relatively happy.”
“It’s a system that allows people to have a range of choices that are designed by the economy,” he said. “I don’t think having a free rider system in [health care] is any more appropriate than having a free rider system in any other part of the economy.”
It is a stretch to call Obamacare “radical change” but I do disagree with one component which Gingrich might call “left-wing social engineering.” I noted some of the problems with Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s) in the previous post.
Gingrich is being more honest and consistent regarding the individual mandate than his fellow Republicans considering this is an idea which was originally promoted by Republicans. It is especially favorable that Gingrich opposes the GOP-supported plan which would, for all practical purposes, end the Medicare Program.
I hope this is due to actual opposition to the Ryan plan as opposed to responding pragmatically to the degree of opposition to the idea. I am glad to see Gingrich opposing this, but he hardly has a good record at opposing “right-wing social engineering.” We are in a bizarre world if Newt Gingrich is now the voice calling for moderation in the Republican Party–or perhaps a sign of how far right the Republican Party has moved in recent years.