Washington (CNN) – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich encouraged Congressional Republicans Wednesday to fight for the Republican Medicare proposal, despite his past criticism of the plan and the Republican loss in Tuesday's New York special election that became a referendum on the proposal.
"Saving Medicare so it is affordable with no government rationing of healthcare for seniors is the new GOP litmus test," Gingrich wrote in a letter to House and Senate Republicans. "Republicans are working to preserve a doctor-patient relationship and access to care for all seniors."
The 2012 presidential candidate said this is the third time in his career Democrats have unsuccessfully used Medicare to attack the GOP, adding that Republicans need to "stand firm against these attacks."
"The lessons of 1980 and 1995-96 are clear," Gingrich wrote, referencing the Republican electoral victories in those cycles. "The Democrats' Mediscare big lie campaign will inevitably collapse if we cheerfully insist on telling the truth."
Gingrich's apparent endorsement comes after a very public back-and-forth with House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan. He originally criticized the plan publically, only to later backtrack on his comments and apologize to the Wisconsin Republican.
Under the plan originally put forward by Ryan, the government would no longer directly pay bills for senior citizens in the program. Instead, recipients would choose from a list of private insurance providers, which the federal government would subsidize.
Democrats warn the move would threaten the health care security enjoyed by older Americans and have pledged to make the GOP plan a focal point of their campaign efforts in the lead-up to the 2012 election.
Medicare was a key issue in Tuesday's special election to fill the Congressional seat in New York's 26th district, in which CNN projected a win for Democrat Kathy Hochul.
Hochul and Republican Jane Corwin attacked each other over the issue while both political parties and outside groups flooded the market with ads over the reform plan.
But the day after the election, Gingrich told GOP members to think of this time as "'Medicare 3,' a bad sequel to two bad failures."
"Paul Ryan and the House Republicans are trying to save Medicare in a period of enormous economic and fiscal difficulties," Gingrich wrote. "We need to be bold and offer real solutions that improve Medicare so we can preserve it for future generations."
– CNN's Alan Silverleib contributed to this report.
This CLOWN comes out with more LIES to defend the Ryan plan: UNBELIEVEABLE. The average American's, Senior's,the poor, Women and minorities are on to your EVIL,EVIL ways. Protecting the MEGA RICH and record profiting Corporation ahead of STRUGGLING Average American's IS OVER!!! ALL DEMOCRATS AND OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
You can't save Medicare by canceling it. You can put lipstick on your pig plan for Medicare, but it still looks and smells like a pig. No insurance company is going to take on seniors with a little subsidy from the Government without a greater cost to the senior. What insurance company is going to give affordable care to the oldest part of our population that costs the most to cover. Sorry Newt you or Ryan's plan will not work. You need to figure out how to fund Medicare and SS, not take it away. Start with raising the tax on yourself and your rich budies.
People of the United States of America,Mr.G.,Republican and Democratic Pols.,
To be blunt and crude, due to my frustration level.Before all of you "Dumb Ass" politician screw up Social Security and Medicare for eveyone under 55.1) Stop looting the SS Trust Fund to pay for your pork programs with all the Fraud and corruption that goes along with them.2)Clean up along with SS the waste fraud and abuse that exists in MEDICARE.That could save BILLIONS.INCREASE those efforts before we scrap both systems.OBAMA CARE is going to be a NIGTHMARE on the people,why inflict more pain.Fix what is broken.Do not reinvent the system at this time.
Conservative Social Engineering. What Ryan is proposing is a $8000/ year ration of healthcare from private insurers, not enough to cover an ER visit if the condition is serious. Its also a violation of the agreement people under 55 have made once they entered the working world, that Medicare would be there to help them. This is a wholesale abdication of responsibility by the government under the guise of dealing with a budget crisis. Close the loopholes in the taxcode, stop corporations from filing as individuals to avoid taxes, among other things, and we will have the revenue we need to keep the program running without destroying it. This is a simple matter of keeping your word to the people who have worked all their lives, and don't deserve to be thrown under the bus because someone at some conservative think tank thinks turning everything into a voucher system is a great idea. If a district as conservative as NY26 saw through this smokescreen, then every GOP member should be concerned.
Let's see, a popular Republican candidate in the most conservative part of upstate New York (home of the New York Tea Party) just lost to a Democract because she showed lukewarm support for the Ryan Medicare bill? Yes, by all means GOP, continue supporting it. And don't forget to let the door hit you in the rear on your way out.
Killing Medicare is just the first step in the republican plan; Social Security is next on the republican hit list on the middleclass! The corrupt GOP will continue to take away from working people and give tax cuts to the idle rich, Trust Fund Babies and their corporate sponsors. Medicare and Social Security systems are not broken; a few simple changes would end all the funding problems.
Means testing would stop all the millionaires and billionaires from getting free health care and a check every month to buy golf balls and champagne dinners.
Lifting the cap on Social Security so the rich could start paying their fair share of the tax would end all the funding problems forever.