Gingrich separates himself from GOP on Medicare?
May 16th, 2011
12:37 PM ET
12 years ago

Gingrich separates himself from GOP on Medicare?

(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich may have appeared to significantly separate himself Sunday from a leading House GOP proposal to institute a voucher program in place of Medicare, but a Gingrich spokesman insists there is actually little difference between the former House Speaker and Republicans on the Hill.

"There is little daylight between Ryan and Gingrich," Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler told conservative publication The Weekly Standard. "But look how it gets reported. Newt would fully support Ryan if it were not compulsory. We need to design a better system that people will voluntarily move to. That is a major difference in design but not substance."

Gingrich's initial comments came during an interview on NBC's Meet the Press, when he called the Medicare provision in the GOP budget proposal spearheaded by Rep. Paul Ryan a "radical change."

"What you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose it," Gingrich said. "I am against Obamacare imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change."

Ryan's plan, which has already been met with strict resistance at GOP town-halls across the country, proposes substituting vouchers in place of the current government-run Medicare program that is automatically available to seniors. Instead, voucher recipients would be permitted to apply the government subsidies to private health care plans.

"I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering," Gingrich said of the plan. "I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare solution for seniors."

The former House Speaker, who formally declared he is a presidential candidate last week, said he would favor a hybrid of the current Medicare program coupled with the voucher alternative.

Meanwhile, at least one of Gingrich's presidential rivals is already jumping all over the former House Speaker for denouncing the GOP proposal:

"For several years, Newt Gingrich has deserved a lot of credit for thinking through a great many issues in a serious and interesting fashion. But his criticism of Congressman Paul Ryan's Medicare reform plan yesterday was a big departure from Speaker Gingrich's often sound policy proposals," former Sen. Rick Santorum said.

"Furthermore, it was a departure from his support of Paul Ryan's plan just a few weeks ago. Contrary to what Speaker Gingrich said yesterday, the Ryan plan does not 'suddenly impose' 'radical change.' It is a good first step toward positive reform of a program in desperate need of rescue. Paul Ryan's plan is the first serious step by our new Congress to empower future seniors with more choices while at the same time keeping the Medicare system solvent and reining in out-of-control federal spending," he added.

Filed under: 2012 • Medicare • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (44 Responses)

    A very unsavoury character this Newt fellow,.. he's got all the credentials for a GOP candidate.

    May 16, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. diridi

    foxy idiot....stays according to wind....nasty thug....worst than Bin Laden...o.k,

    May 16, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Cosmo

    I thought it said "Gingrich Separates Himself from Newt Gingrich". That might be his only, slim chance of getting the Greedy Old Party's nomination.

    May 16, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. maine liberal

    Vouchers is redistribution of wealth thru taxes. Vouchers still do not provide care only provide questionable payments for care. Insurance company bailouts. The seniors and the disabled are at risk policy holders that big insurance does not want. They have pre-existing conditions ajnd as a group use there insurance more than any other group.

    May 16, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Gingrich has the stinch of an old hore trying to turn some new tricks and you can smell him a mile away.

    May 16, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    I am absolutely laughing at Gingrich who says "what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose it."

    Sorry, Newtie old boy, but it won't be YOU offering me anything ... better outcomes, better solutions, or better options ... notwithstanding.

    May 16, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. FM

    Does anyone gets the taste of Newt what he stands for????? I get difficulties to figure it out!!!

    May 16, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. The Clear Thinking Independent Voter

    The key to unmasking Gingrich is to dig a little deeper into the "HOW" when he proposes something.

    Gingrich can SVENGALI most journalists and citizens. He makes what sound like "reasonable" statements. For example, yesterday he said he rejects "right-wing ideaology" as much as "left-wing ideaology". That sounds like a real, middle of the road, independent-voter-appealing position.

    The only problem is, Newt has always been a right-wing idealogist and just be cause he tries to re-calibrate his extremeness as the middle of the road doesn't mean we have to nod our heads and buy it.

    Media people, you'd better get smart and fast. You'd better be able to ask 2 to 3 follow up questions. That's the only way your going to get the truth and demonstrate your usefulness / value to the public. Right now, we don't think you deserve any 1st ammendment benefits because you are complicity in dumbing down America.

    May 16, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Charles

    How about this, either cover everyone with health care or cover no one. And by no one I mean no tax break for companies that choose to provide their employees with coverage, no grant to states that want to provide health care to the poor or rich, no grants to private groups like Planned Parenthood and no Medicare. Then the government will not have to worry about public money being used for abortions or anything for that matter because it will be none of its business what kind of procedure someone wants. Then maybe they can get back to work creating all those high paying jobs they promised so we can pay for our own health care!

    May 16, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Ronald Dump

    Social engineering? These bozos would just derail the whole train into a dump. Social change happens every day; look at your friends driving teeny weeny cars while texting. We need to stay on top of change and even try to guide it instead of just watching in horror. We could have prevented Lady GaGa with timely intervention.

    May 16, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. New Age Independant

    Democrats continue on painting medicare as a scare tactic by Republicans, yet their own figures back up Republican claims. Will they get serious? No, they have waffled around this for years and used it as a scare tactic of their own to garner votes from the elderly. It's become very obvious to me that when I retire, I'll be on my own. Or perhaps Democrats will just issue me an IOU?

    May 16, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. Kenny

    WOW ....... "Eye of the Newt" Gingrich loves to associate with that word "SEPERATE". He has seperated from 2 wives, and divorced them, and now he is about to seperate this time from the GOP. If he and Mitt Rommeny were made of rubber, I could wear them around the house as "Flip Flops".

    May 16, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. pflatman

    Social Engineering? You mean like getting the American people to believe in something that's a lie?

    What should we start with? Politicians, in general?

    May 16, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. airbornevet

    Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country (the real deal)

    Do you know the republicans are the creators of the worst recessions in our history, including the Great Recession and the Great depression? why don't you go ahead and look up and compare economic data of republican majority periods to democrat. I am not going to tell you who performed better I'll let you see for your self. Though pre-Worker's right's error the Republicans were the democrats and the Democrats were the republicans so on and so fourth because big business switiched them and bought deomcratic canidates to run as republicans to get laws passed against worker's rights effectively changing the sides titles. So I think it's fair to go back to the beginning of the 1900s, a century of data for you to look at.

    May 16, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Ron in Asheville, NC

    Anything any government chooses to do–or NOT to do–is social engineering. In a complex modern society like the US there is nothing that isn't "imposed" in one way or another. So Gingrich's distinction amounts to the proverbial "distinction without a difference."

    May 16, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. jimmy keagan

    One thing I don't understand is why people think that somehow, the insurance companies will do a better job managing medical care than the government; it is not like they are doing a great job managing health care as it is.

    May 16, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Poser

    Nobody is stopping anyone from dropping their Medicare to sign up for private insurance. Seniors sign up for Medicare because it's a good deal for them. Newt is trying to pretend the problem is that of having no choice which simply isn't true. Spin, Newt, spin.

    May 16, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    Too late to take it back. Newt will self destruct like Trump because he also contracted Palin foot in the mouth disease.

    May 16, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. BT

    This guy is something else.

    May 16, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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