August 14th, 2013
02:21 PM ET
11 months ago

Gingrich: Republicans have 'zero' health care ideas

Boston (CNN) – Former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich reprimanded his fellow Republicans in unusually harsh terms Wednesday, blaming GOP members of Congress for developing "zero" alternatives to President Obama's health care reform law.

Gingrich, who was speaking at the opening session of the Republican National Committee's summer meeting, fielded a question about "Obamacare" and recalled that Republicans were able to block Bill Clinton's health care reform effort in 1994 because they had "a positive alternative approach" to health care.

But Republicans today have nothing comparable to offer, Gingrich told nearly the 200 state party chairs, operatives and activists gathered in Boston for the conference.

"I will bet you, for most of you, you go home in the next two weeks when your members of Congress are home, and you look them in the eye and you say, 'What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?' They will have zero answer," Gingrich said.

Gingrich blamed the problem on Republican culture that rewards obstruction and negativity instead of innovation and "being positive."

"We are caught up right now in a culture, and you see it every single day, where as long as we are negative and as long as we are vicious and as long as we can tear down our opponent, we don't have to learn anything," Gingrich said, acknowledging the "totally candid" nature of his remarks. "We have to do the homework."

"This is a very deep problem," said Gingrich, who was recently named one of the hosts of CNN's political talk show "Crossfire."

Gingrich's remarks were pegged to his forthcoming book "Breakout," which calls on Republicans to embrace new technologies and policies in an effort to become a party of the future.

President Obama also accused Republicans of having no health care plan during a White House press conference last week, a claim that was met with disdain by House Republican leaders who circulated a series of health care ideas to reporters after the president's remarks.

A number of prominent conservatives in the House and Senate are pushing to shut down the federal government in a bid to de-fund the president's health care law when Congress takes up a government spending measure in late September.

Asked if he agreed with Gingrich's arguments, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said "not completely." He pointed to a number of piecemeal health care proposals available on the web sites of House Republican leaders.

Priebus said he supports repealing or de-funding Obamacare, but pressed on whether he would support a government shutdown to accomplish those goals, Priebus said he did not want to debate tactics.


Filed under: Crossfire • Health care • Newt Gingrich • RNC
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. patNY

    The reason why there's no alternative, is because there is a HUGE industry out there – the health insurance industry – that employs millions and is a major economic force out there, with which we sadly have to work around and with and incorporate in any so called health care fix. Like Obama said, if we could start all over again, single payer universal coverage would be the preferable system. And, that's why other countries have that system – they started with it, not with the insurance company coverage crap system we currently have.

    August 14, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "i suppose you would have preferred hussein still be in control and really killing thousands a day to maintain his grip on the country?"

    Why not? It's precisely what Mubarak was doing but you argued he should have been allowed to stay in power and slowly and gently transitioned into retirement while thousands upon thousands of angry protesters and millions of Egyptian citizens wanted him gone IMMEDIATELY because of the atrocities he'd committed for 40+ years. You're only desperately trying to defend the Iraq situation because you know that one falls in Dubya's lap.

    August 14, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Boo

    Correction – Republicans HAVE ZERO IDEAS ABOUT ANYTHING.

    August 14, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. mike

    When is this man going to go and hide in shame for what he did to his wife? Why do we listen to people like him and Clinton, and Weiner, and Sanford, and ... They should go hide in a hole and never come up again.

    August 14, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. GOP = Greed Over People

    Oh, the GOP has a health plan as pointed out by numerous "GOP leaders", continue to let the poor that are sick and informed continue using the most expensive health care possible, the emergency room.

    It is easier to off load the cost onto responsible folks that pay higher insurance premiums than to face the issue head on, plus, all the Southern red states get to continue to "take" more than they give!

    August 14, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    There can be.......only one alternative. High taxes to support NHC.

    August 14, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. Ol' Yeller

    "President Obama also accused Republicans of having no health care plan during a White House press conference last week, a claim that was met with disdain by House Republican leaders who circulated a series of health care ideas to reporters after the president's remarks."

    Republican heatth care ideas which were circulated:

    1. Don't get sick.
    2. Borrow some health from your parents.
    3. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.
    4. Drink some kool aid.
    5. Don't be born poor.
    6. Be born rich.
    (break to vote for 41st time on appeal of Obamacare)
    7. Don't get sick.
    8. Drink some kool aid.
    9. Rub some dirt on it.

    August 14, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Nonsense, they have a plan. Rich people and those in Congress get good medical care. Poor people and the working middle class get shafted.

    August 14, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "This is a very deep problem"

    Step 1: Stop digging.

    August 14, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Dan

    I find it hard to EVER agree with Newt, but he has it right. The Republicans have nothing. They just voted (for the 40th time) to defund the ACA. All the Republicans do is obstruct, waste money on votes that have no meaning and hold witch-hunt hearing which waste even more money.
    Hopefully, real conservatives will get rid of the tea-baggers, that are destroying our government, in the next election.

    August 14, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. PtBarnumBoy

    This is absolutely not true. The GOP would like things to stay as they are.

    August 14, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "pressed on whether he would support a government shutdown to accomplish those goals, Priebus said he did not want to debate tactics."

    pressed on whether he would support a government shutdown to accomplish those goals, Priebus tucked tail and ran like a coward.

    FIFY

    August 14, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Jeb

    In all fairness to Republicans, they do have ideas on fixing health care.

    Republicans idea of health care reform:

    "If you get sick, die quick."

    August 14, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. Cris

    Asked if he agreed with Gingrich's arguments, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said "not completely.

    ......"not completely."

    August 14, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. kirk

    When newt is the voice of reason for your party, its all but over.your party is the most destructive force known to America.yet how many poor and underprivileged rednecks vote for them cause they ain't for black's. Sad sad bunch.I'm not particularly fond of it but he is the best thing for the middles class since Clinton.every repub admin runs our economy in the ground, then a Democrat bails them out so they can do it again.history speaks the truth, the gop has no idea what that is

    August 14, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Jeb

    Republicans are going to have to become something more than the party of NO, if they want to be relevant.

    August 14, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. joe

    no kiddin! all the GOP has is insults,negativity, racial slurs and impreachment talk. then they wonder why they can't win a national election. perhaps, the affordable health care act is not perfect but at least the DEMS are trying to do something to help. the GOP neds to quit crying and blaming everything on the liberal media and grow up.

    August 14, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. demogoat

    Thanks Newt, the first thing I have heard from the right has some truth to it. If the tone would change, just maybe we have some hope that congress can work to improve this mess.

    August 14, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Steven Colo

    Newt created this kind of politics. Now he denounces it.

    August 14, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. RayJacksonMS

    Gingrich is one of the first class of pigs that enshrined obstruction and hatefulness. I hope the GOP reminds him of that.

    August 14, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. Jez

    Republicans never have ideas. They simply are contrary to liberal ideas. Republicans are the party of "no".

    August 14, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. skytag

    I've been saying this for years. All Republicans can think about is repealing the ACA and putting us back where we were. They have no viable ideas for reforming health care in this country. They have some ideas, but they're all based on ideology and ignore reality, data, and historical evidence. None of them will do squat to improve our health care system.

    Several states have implemented tort reform and it didn't bring down health care spending in any of them. There is no evidence to suggest allowing selling health insurance across state lines will reduce health care costs measurably. The Republican conundrum is that they are ideologically opposed to the one thing every other country with universal health care has learned from experience: The free market won't bring down costs, and government has to play a significant role in a nation's health care system to ensure affordable, universal access.

    The free market won't bring down costs because health care is the ultimate sellers market, and sellers markets drive prices up, not down. There many approaches for government to be involved in a nation's health care system, from socialized medicine in which the government owns, operates and runs the health care system, to regulating a fully private system, as is the case in Switzerland. Single-payer systems are popular, and they're kind of in the middle of these two extremes.

    But what has never worked in any country is a heavy reliance on the free market. It makes folks on the right crazy to hear someone say that, but if you forget ideology and rely instead on informed analysis and evidence that's the inescapable conclusion. Unfortunately, Republicans are ideologues these days so you can't get them to look at real data or have an informed discussion about any of this.

    I'm not a fan of the ACA. I think it was fundamentally the wrong approach. But Republicans have nothing better to offer. What we need is comprehensive reform to make our system simpler, more efficient, more cost-effective, and less divisive, but instead of having the serious, informed debates we should be having all we ever seem to manage are hyper-partisan food fights that just make us look ridiculous to the rest of the industrialized world.

    August 14, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. Dan

    Wait. CNN hired this goon? Really? The race to the bottom continues.

    August 14, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. ksiner

    OMG!!! Newt speaking logically. I'm amazed!!

    August 14, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. ????

    The status-quo is an acceptable alternative if Obama Care is the only choice. Evidently Obama's union friends have decided it is not a good deal for them either as they are trying to opt out of the ACA.

    August 14, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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