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Gingrich's '06 Memos Praised Romney's Health Care Plan: 'The Most Interesting Effort


"We agree entirely with Governor Romney..."


Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich doesn't have much love for the health care law that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney enacted back in 2006. But has he always been so adamantly opposed to the law?

"Your plan essentially is one more big-government, bureaucratic, high-cost system," Gingrich told Romney during a debate this past October in Las Vegas. Gingrich went on to claim that Romney's approach was "from the top down" -- something Gingrich now opposes.

While this quote, among others, highlights the former House Speaker's attempt to backtrack on his past support for a federal health insurance mandate, according to the Wall Street Journal, Gingrich actually voiced support for Romney's law back in 2006.

After the measure was passed, Gingrich's former consulting company, the Center for Health Transformation, published a 2006 newsletter that read, "The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system."

But that's not all. The two-page analysis (called "Newt Notes"), which was found online by the Journal, continues, "We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans."

Here's a portion of the newsletter (read the entire document here):

While the Romney camp has declined to comment on this newfound development, R.C. Hammond, a Gingrich spokesperson, is dismissing the find and claiming that the newsletter also critiques the law. "Being critical...isn't endorsing it," Hammond said, while going on to say that Gingrich didn't write the published essay. The Journal continues, detailing some of the hesitations that the newsletter did originally highlight:

The Newt Notes essay backed the Massachusetts law's requirement that most residents carry insurance or pay a fee, which is at the center of President Obama's health law and next year's Supreme Court case over whether the federal requirement violates the Constitution. [...]

At the same time, the essay cautioned that some piece of the Massachusetts plan may not work. It warned that the state has an "exhaustive" list of health-coverage requirements that prohibit insurers from offering basic plans with high deductibles. It predicted that state residents earning little more than $30,000 a year-- the threshold for an individual to qualify for subsidized coverage-- would be "in jeopardy of being priced out of the system." Instead, the newsletter said, "we propose that a more realistic approach might be to limit the mandate to those individuals earning upward of $54,000 per year."

While these hesitations were surely presented, a follow-up newsletter in August 2006 called Romney's plan, "the most interesting effort to solve the uninsured problem in America today." It apparently also offered praise for "a Republican governor working with a Democratic state legislature to find a bipartisan reform that is based on market-oriented principles."

If this, indeed, checks out as a "flip-flop," it will follow a series of alleged changes of heart that critics have held against Gingrich. From the individual mandate to climate change, the presidential candidate has had some noteworthy evolutions of ideological thought.

Read more about the uncovered newsletters here.

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