ThinkProgress has previously reported that in the years before Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy for president, he publicly called for universal health care reform that included a federal individual mandate, risk pooling mechanisms to lower costs for individuals and small businesses, federal subsidies for lower-income Americans, and government investment in electronic health records and comparative effectiveness research. Gingrich’s proposals put a conservative twist on many of the provisions included in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and were heavily influenced by the corporate clients who participate in the Center for Health Transformation, which until recently served as a hub for his health care ideas.
On Friday, our former colleague Lee Fang unearthed audio conference calls between Gingrich and his corporate clients from 2010, in which the former House Speaker promised to work with Republicans and the health care industry to maintain favorable portions of the law:
Gingrich also spoke on the calls reminding listeners that health reform could be shaped through committees hearings in 2011 and through the repeal-and-replace period in 2012, when (he suggested) a Republican president would take over. Touting his access to the Republican party, Gingrich said he would be advising the congressional leaders as they took aim at the law.
On one call, Gingrich suggested that his clients — each paying as much as $20,000 in yearly retainer fees — would have a role in crafting policy.
“There are clearly things that we’d like to see continued and we’d like to see legislation passed almost concurrently that will sustain the good parts,” said Gingrich, explaining what would happen if the bill were to be repealed. Showing his savvy at generating business, he added that he would “love the help of all of our members in identifying” which parts of reform should remain law. […]
Gingrich applauded the “rapidly emerging standard of care” that would come with new Medicare reporting patterns prescribed by the law. “I think that those people who understand it and adapt to it, and learn how to use it faster will have a substantial net advantage,” Gingrich advised.
As Fang notes, “Gingrich’s private description of the Affordable Care Act differs dramatically from what he had said to voters publicly. In interviews over the last two years, he has described President Obama’s program as a ‘centralized healthcare dictatorship’ with provisions that ‘would, in effect, be death panels.’ At Republican debates, he said that if elected, he would literally sign the repeal at his inaugural ceremony.”
Gingrich did also indicate that he supported a provision of the law which allows young adults to stay on their parent’s health policies until age 26, telling a town hall crowd in New Hampshire, “That particular piece there is nothing wrong with. I didn’t say there is anything wrong with that. I’m happy to concede out of 2,800 pages, at least 200 are good.” Recent data found that 2.5 million young adults are insured as a result of the policy.