August 14th, 2013
02:21 PM ET
5 years 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. Winston Smith

    And zero ideas concerning anything else. You are losers. Accept it, and move on.

    August 14, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. rs

    Well, it would seem The GOP certainly has nothing to "replace" the ACA with- but that was never their plan. They do however have ideas represented in the ACA- one was Mr. Gingrich's- the individual mandate.

    August 14, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Senator

    As usual the poorly, misguided Mr. Gingrich don't have a clue what he is talking about. There is a comprehensive Health Care Bill, Empowering Patients First Act (H.R. 2300) , which has been introduced by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, a physician.

    August 14, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. thinking outside the box

    He's partially right. The GOP has no alternative ideas to the ACA. The irony is that most of the ACA was originally the idea of the GOP in the 1990's.

    August 14, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Just because GOP does'nt have anything better does'nt make Obamascare good.


    Something is better then nothing , unless you live in a bunker with out ideas and enjoy it.

    August 14, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    Hey "Anonymous", does 40,000 deaths annually due to lack of insurance coverage under the current system mean anything to you ? P.S.-that number is probably rising because Repub. Governors & Legislatures denying Medicaid for the sick & poor and dragging their feet on Insurance Exchanges. Real Christ-like, eh ?

    August 14, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    just saying

    The Real Tom Paine
    -just asking
    maybe obama can pardon him? i'm sure this was all a little mistake. or maybe eric holder can unilaterally decide that this sentence is too long and have him released? i'm sure somebody will pop up with a racist angle to this somewhere. sniffin! where are you?!
    By the way, how are the investigation into Bob McDonnell and Scott Walker going? You seem to be remarkabley silent on those.

    investigations are still ongoing. don't you lefties understand the concept of innocent until proven guilty? all you clowns do is smear your opponents with allegations of wrong doing, most of which are rubbish.

    yet their names are always absent: why is that?

    because this is a discussion about ongoing current events and all of those ongoing current events happen to involve democrat criminals and perverts. whenever there are political opponents involved, the leftists are always in here attacking them which is fine.

    surely you cannot expect others to not comment on the current long list of democrat perverts and criminals in the news. i guess that democrat swamp that nancy pelosi professed to drain was also a myth! now please, don't get your panties in a twist, sit back and enjoy all of the media attention the democrats are getting.
    Interesting how you deleted the long line of GOP pols who have been caught in scandals, but I expect nothing less from a cut-and-paste intellect who cannot handle the truth about his own people.

    August 14, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Dumbas[R]ocks

    I'm Not a Liberal wouldn't know a true conservative if one shat on his empty head.

    August 14, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    The Heritage Foundation came up with the idea of the individual mandate, which Gingrich championed as an alternative to the Clinton healthcare overhaul proposal. In fact, Gingrich said the mandate was the way to go because people would have "skin in the game." And who can forget the Heritage Foundation and the GOP trumpeted the success of implementing the individual mandate when Romney signed it into law in Mass.

    All the Repubs absolutely loved what was used as the blueprint for Obamacare – until President Obama signed it into law.

    And being the hateful, obstructionist little trolls that they all are, doing nothing for our country, working tirelessly to make President Obama fail, regardless of the consequences to Americans, the Repubs are out in full force, lying and whining to their low-information, easily-fooled base that Obamacare will be the end of the world as we know it.

    The GOP is a cesspool – filled with the likes of Gingrich and the voters who think his ilk should be in charge.

    August 14, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Anonymous says "Just because GOP does'nt have anything better does'nt make Obamascare good."

    Well, with that bit of vacuous logic, you will then also have to admit that the lack of ideas from the GOP doesn't mean that the ACA is bad either.

    So what's your point?

    August 14, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. DarqueSide

    No wonder Newtie's 'think tank' went belly-up! Stating the obvious doesn't warrant a fat paycheck.

    August 14, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. poor white boy

    That's What I like and respect about Newt,he tells It like It Is and the TRUTH. But just wait till 2014 and how us old folks will suffer with healthcare. Thanks a lot ya'll we worked our butt off our whole life to build up our country ,while ya'll filled your pockets drank bottled water and chewed the fat. If your rich you can just moved to some island and get fat and hide from the truth.

    August 14, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. poor white boy

    I'll bet If newt would have been president things would be better by now.
    Maybe not fixed ,but a lot better.

    August 14, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Data Driven


    Not too shabby. This liberal is on board with much of what you're saying.

    August 14, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    @John: "The time for an alternative idea was back when we debated healthcare, not after it is the law."

    But you see, John, the GOP never wanted to debate anything – why do you think they keep filibustering? When your party's only goal is to defeat the President – as opposed to say, I don't know, WORK FOR YOUR COUNTRY – then you get into these ruts of whining and pouting and thwarting the will of the people.

    What is it about electing President Obama TWICE, having a Democratic majority in the Senate and receiving more Democratic votes for House seats that the REPUBS DON'T GET?!?

    August 14, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. freedom

    Obamacare will gut the middle class economically – which will cause our country to implode. People will also literally – die – due to poor health care. If it's such a great health care system, then why did Congress beg to not be mandated to use it? This isn't about the Republicans. It's about Obama, Pelosi, and Reid bringing this country down!

    August 14, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Randy, San Francisco

    Republicans and Tea Partiers have zero ideas because they don't believe government should help anyone. Just look at so many of them complaining about the cost federal disaster aid after Hurricane Sandy.

    August 14, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    @Anonymous: "Just because GOP does'nt have anything better does'nt make Obamascare good."

    Obamacare was modeled after the Heritage Foundation's idea – which was successfully implemented in Mass when Romney was gov.

    BTW, if Obamacare is so lousy, then why are health insurance companies spending millions of $$ ramping up to be able to provide better products and services to all the new customers they will be getting soon?

    * crickets *

    August 14, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    @skytag: "Republicans had control of Congress for six years under Bush and didn't do squat."

    I beg to differ. Repubs:

    1. Evaporated the Clinton surplus.
    2. Passed through reconciliation two tax cuts (during wartime – NEVER done before in our nation's history) for the rich and Medicare Part D.
    3. Lied us into Iraq.
    4. Dropped the ball in Afghanistan.
    5. Called anyone who disagreed with them a traitor.
    6. Exploited 9/11 for their own gain.

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg ...

    August 14, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    The company I work for has a whole section on its internal website devoted to "Reform Implementation." Lots of topics and articles and links to websites. Info including:

    "The ACA created two types of exchange models:

    1.Individual Exchange
    The individual exchange was designed for individuals and families who want to purchase their own plan rather than obtaining coverage through an employer. Depending on household income, those who choose to purchase coverage through the individual exchange may be eligible for advance premium tax credits or other financial assistance to offset the cost of coverage.

    2.“SHOP” Exchange for Small Businesses
    Less attention has been paid to the provision of the ACA that calls for states to establish a Small Business Health Options Program, referred to as a “SHOP” exchange, for small businesses with up to 100 employees. Employers who choose to purchase coverage through the SHOP exchange may be eligible for increased tax credits. "

    I suggest some of these anti-Obamacare posters do a little research and find out the FACTS instead of just listening to the lies on Fox and spouted by the likes of Hannity.

    And when you're done with that, try considering what ELSE those rightwing nutjobs have been lying to you about (hint: everything).

    August 14, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Well, it would seem The GOP certainly has nothing to "replace" the ACA with-"

    Oh come now...yes they do: 40 million death sentences.

    August 14, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Just look at so many of them complaining about the cost federal disaster aid after Hurricane Sandy."

    That's only because Sandy hit liberal northern east coast states.

    August 14, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. I'm NOT a liberal


    I'm Not a Liberal wouldn't know a true conservative if one shat on his empty head.
    Good of you to live up to your name.

    August 14, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  24. Tom

    Wow, I agree with Newt Gingrich. That's scary. But he's absolutely right. The constant "repeal Obamacare" chant from Republicans doesn't fix the problem. Republicans have never offered an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, nor have they ever offered a serious idea for how to modify the current bill to make it better. They just seem obsessed with erasing all traces of a Democratic victory. This country needs some kind of comprehensive healthcare plan. A system where large numbers of citizens are uninsured doesn't help anyone. Instead of wasting everyone's time with repeated symbolic votes to repeal the ACA, why not do something useful and propose some new ideas? I don't think anyone has ever said the ACA was perfect. It's a step in the right direction, but constructive input from Republicans could actually help the country build a better system.

    August 14, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "If it's such a great health care system, then why did Congress beg to not be mandated to use it? "

    Because the US congress and federal employees should be treated just like every other employee of a large organization under the ACA: large organizations and corporations are mandated to provide health insurance for their employees under the ACA, and the federal government is nothing more than a large organization. Those that don't do it have to pay fines. Forcing the US gov't to provide health insurance to its employees is, in fact, treating it just like every other organization out there who will be charged with doing likewise. Grow up.

    August 14, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6