August 14th, 2013
02:21 PM ET
8 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. Faux Scandals

    Things are bad for the GOP when people start to agree with Newt.

    August 14, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  2. Not Too Hard To Understand

    Newt – The GOP is, indeed, out of ideas, but it doesn't stop there. The GOP has no viable ideas for anything, save for figuring out how to demean and marginalize women.

    August 14, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  3. Larry in Houston

    I typically do not agree with the newtster, but I will have to agree with him this time. BTW, congrats CNN, on getting him our WB show, every once in a while, besides, he needs a Job, and cnn gave him the opportunity. I'm glad for that. To be perfectly honest, I don't blame the newtster for going with a news channel who's got more truth, than the other, and to be fair, CNN IS the ONLY Fair & Balanced network there is, period. AND, If I may add, as long as the GOP is arguing amongst their selves, they are self destructing, so I can't blame the newtster for changing to the "better" network. I mean, take a look at Rand Paul & Christie, they are fighting like a couple of grade school kids, and for some reason they act like the voters in this country doesn't see what is happening to the GOP & the "in-fighting" . . .

    August 14, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. russ el

    Newt picks and chooses when he wants to be honest and above the fray, and when he wants to be part of it. The World According to Newt.

    August 14, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  5. athreyi

    It is not common that I agree with Newt – he is right on. The republications know only one thing – Say NO to anything proposed by the president.

    I have never heard a more bankrupt idea than a vote to repeal obamacare week after week. Get a life

    August 14, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  6. Apex301

    The problem the GOP has, is that if they fixed healthcare using their own methods, it would look EXACTLY like Obamacare, which is NOT a liberal plan. It is in fact a CONSERVATIVE plan. The only reason they vote against it, is that they have bet all their money on stopping the President. They only care about power, and getting it back, and making the large insurance corps happy so that they donate to the GOP re-elections.
    The Democrats should have pushed single-payor when they had both houses, as that is what we will have in 20 years or so, and would be the best care for the lowest price. The GOP want what we had in 1920 back, and would throw grandma under the bus in a heart-beat.

    August 14, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  7. U.S. Citizen

    Health Care is not the responsibility of politicians.

    August 14, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  8. Liz the First

    Republicans have zero ideas, period. oh, no, wait, they have one. sucker poor people into voting for them so they can continue to hurt them and help the rich. how long will it take for the people who put these monsters in office to see them for what they really are?

    August 14, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  9. JimmyMac

    [-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.-]

    I see. It's all about "tactics" to this nuttbagger name a' Reince.

    August 14, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    All this talk of impeaching President Obama and repealing Obamacare and shutting down the government just keeps reminding ordinary (read sane) people of the danger to our country if we vote for Republican candidates In 2014. They live in a world of their own construction and assume there is no other reality.

    August 14, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  11. Dan5404

    Sometimes, I think Newt is way off base. But, this statement is right on the mark. The GOP is nothing but negative. They made complaining and attacking and obstructing everything Obama does their sole aim in life. 40 useless votes against Obama Care, record filibusters and no real ideas on how to run the country except lower taxes on rich people and use every insidious trick they can dream up to deprive women and minority voters their legal rights. Gingrich may be laughable sometimes, but he's been around long enough to know that compromise is the only way to govern.

    August 14, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  12. morpunkt

    Yes, they do have a plan. It's called Manifest Destiny Care. Your destiny is manifested with little to no health care. You're on your own.

    August 15, 2013 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  13. CNN is written by 9 year olds

    Oh, when was the last time Gingrich had a health care plan- never?

    August 15, 2013 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  14. labman57

    Remember the 4 D's of the Republican strategy with respect to health care reform: Delay, Distract, Distort, Deceive.

    Health reform has been debated for many years with no action taken. Calls for reform date back to the FDR administration, and every time it has been discussed, the Republican position has been to maintain the status quo - do nothing.

    And now that the ACA is about to enter the next phase of implementation, Republicans are once again attempting to undermine progress in providing affordable health care coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
    Congressional Republicans want us to believe that the GOP solutions are better.

    This is actually quite true .... if you never get sick or injured, if you are extremely wealthy, or if you have a major financial stake in the private health insurance industry.

    August 15, 2013 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  15. Oliver A. Dyer

    Well there you have it. Even Mr. G knows that just being "anti this" and "anti that" is not a plan. The republicans need to be about the business doing something positive. Tax cuts will help certain segments of the economy but it is not a comprehensive jobs plan. Repealing the Affordable Health Care Act will not fix the health care crisis. Shutting down the government will not help an economy struggling to recover. New voter ID laws will not increase voter participation in elections The list goes on and on. GOP it is time to do something positive.

    August 15, 2013 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  16. Mags

    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.

    So basically it's tea pub speak for nothing.

    August 15, 2013 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  17. TomInRochNY

    Wow! Is this bizarro world, or what? I'm agreeing with Gingrich?

    August 15, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  18. T

    ...The Party of NO..........says NO to help average Americans.....NO to healthcare.....and has NO ideas to replace anything...........NO........NOT.............NOTHING........NEGATIVE.............always a big NO...............
    ....and America will vote...............NO................on the GOTP

    August 15, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  19. norman ravitch

    One would like to praise Gingrich for new ideas BUT IN PRACTICE HE IS UNSTABLE AND UNRELIABLE.

    August 15, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  20. Gary LeBlanc, Sr

    In Support of Gingrich’s comments – He was right On –
    Answer – Not to totally appeal Obama Care
    Start exposing the Media, which is not a news network but a mouthpiece for socialism
    Keep the coverage of those individuals with preexisting conditions
    Allow Children to stay under their parents insurance until 20 yrs of age (not 26)
    Stop the pharmaceutical companies from putting billions of $$ worth of ads on Television – this would drastically reduce the costs of their products to consumers
    Make hospital costs more uniform throughout the country
    Make sure there is a total itemized bill for charges at all hospitals throughout the country
    Most importantly allow insurance companies to sell their insurance across state lines and that would lower costs with competition

    August 15, 2013 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  21. atmsafetypin

    How about CAPITALISM? We haven't tried that in over 60 years. Something like an "interstate commerce clause" in the Constitution would lower barriers that were created throughout the 1950's when Insurance companies and politicians got together to impose new regulations that would essentially grant duopolies to individual corporations to sell health insurance. There's no reason for the state to impose wildly differing funding standards on health insurance when it's no different from car or life insurance.

    August 15, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  22. steve Iverson

    The alternative is simple. Tax policy to help and incentivize individuals to buy high deductible insurance in the open market. Competition among insurance companies, tort reform, and HSA's (Health Savings Accounts for you liberals). Unfortunately GOP is not good on communicating and the media doesn't help. In other words a true insurance market, not prepaid healthcare.

    August 15, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  23. BossHogg

    Maybe because we don't believe the government as any business being involved in healthcare. Hey Government...stop trying to save do far more damage than good.

    August 15, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  24. steve Iverson

    The plan is a true insurance system with HSA's. Not prepaid health insurance. GOP is not good on communicating free market principles and the media doesn't help.

    August 15, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  25. eddobloggo

    Newt seems to forget that it was the left who wanted "change"... not the right.

    Conservatives have always been for repair in the form of waste and fraud elimination, tort reform and the downsizing and/or elimination of regulatory bureaucracies. Well, we've all seen the change that Obamacare will bring and the majority of us don't like it!

    The old system was fixable. The new system is far worse and dangerously flawed in every way. Conservatives' job is to fight Obamunism and return the USA to the Constitutional tradition and the capitalist system that made us great before the great fall under Obama.

    August 15, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
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