Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda


Gingrich on health care

For several years, Newt Gingrich was one of the more interesting voices in the health care policy world. He joined obscure policy entities, developed interesting ideas, promoted the use of technology as a BIG part of the solution, wrote a book, and sat on committees dedicated to improving quality.
That was then, this is now.
Interestingly, many of the ideas Gingrich now assaults he supported less than a decade ago.
Some of the people he decries he sat next to on policy panels and publicly praised.
Here’s an excerpt from an excellent piece by Michael Millenson:
“Gingrich-as-health-wonk for years advocated reforms such as “data-driven reimbursement” informed by best practices, a national electronic health network and a focus on prevention and wellness. All those items — and others Gingrich supported — are contained in the HITECH Act, part of the budget stimulus package and the Affordable Care Act…
a former colleague of Newt’s on [the National Commission on Quality Long-Term Care] is now one of the Obama administration’s most prominent health care bureaucrats, Dr. Donald Berwick. Back then, New Newt must have listened and learned, since in his book he praises Berwick’s quality improvement work. But today’s Old Newt told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that Berwick’s appointment as head of the Medicare program was just another example of Obama’s “secular Socialist machine.”
And yes, this is the same Newt Gingrich who’s now backtracking as fast as he can from his scathing comments about Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan.
I know, I know, this is just politics.
I know, I know, the ‘news’ that a politician is being hypocritical and intellectually dishonest is NOT news.
I wish it was.

6 thoughts on “Gingrich on health care”

  1. OK Joe, How about talking about the things Newt has done right? For the media to label him as “unserious,” based on his stance on healthcare fraud and abuse is unconscionable. His book, “Stop Paying the Crooks……” is directly responsible for new federal legislation that has resulted in the arrest and conviction of over 300 individuals involved in Medicare and Medicaid fraud. How can you argue with that?

  2. Merrit –
    welcome back to MCM.
    If you read the post, I did “talk about the things Newt has done right”; his participation on the LTC panel was certainly one, and his support of IT innovation in health care was another.
    As for Gingrich taking credit, or rather you awarding him “direct” responsibility for legislation leading to arrests, on what do you base that assertion?

  3. “Stop Paying the Crooks…” was aimed at an “inside the beltway” audience and was very effective. The enormous influence of Gingrich’s organization, Center for Healthcare Transformation (CHT) can not be discounted with respect taking the clear and uncontested leadership of this issue. Through Congressional testimony from CHT and high level discussions with government officials, interdepartmental agency communication led to the arrests. CHT has also been very instrumental with respect to exposes in NYT, WSJ and “60 minutes.” Perhaps somewhat surprising, (with a few notable exceptions) over the last few years, Gingrich has had better discussions and more cooperation with Democrats compared to Republicans, so his current trouble with the GOP is not all that surprsing

  4. Merrit – so, as support for your previous statement about the impact of Newt et al, you offer your opinion, Gingrich and his organization took the “clear and uncontested leadership” of this issue. While that may – or may not – be true, something more concrete than opinion would be helpful.
    As to your assertion that “Congressional testimony from CHT and high level discussions with government officials, interdepartmental agency communication led to the arrests”, that’s not how law enforcement works. I’m quite familiar with this area, and Congressional testimony is, if not completely irrelevant to Federal law enforcement activity, awfully close.
    Interdepartmental agency communication occurs every day amongst and between CMS and the several Federal law enforcement agencies tasked with Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Newt et al have little influence on and have made little contribution to those ongoing efforts.

  5. Joe, I think you are missing the point here. The unbelievable apathy with respect to healthcare fraud at both the state and federal levels is astounding. Without the exposes and visiblity that Gingrich and CHT have provided, those arrests would never have occurred.

  6. Merrit – we will have to agree to disagree on this.
    My sense is you are attributing far too much credit without any direct evidence of the impact of Gingrich et al.
    Many have publicized these issues, and law enforcement is working on, and has been working on, these issues for years, with some remarkable results – see Rick Scott’s history for an excellent example.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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