Newt To GOP On Obamacare: “You Got Nothing.”

The former Speaker, in his usual avuncular manner:

UPDATE: (and bumped) We would be remiss if we did not point out that Newt is wrong. Rep. Tom Price has a positive alternative to Obamacare called “Empowering Patients First.” Price introduced his bill in June. NRO has a good summary.


    • John Konop says:

      First the macro plan was an idea that was incubated by Newt and a the top conservative think tank HF. Two while the current plan has issue the macro concept of everyone having to pay for healthcare with exchanges that let people self insure with just paying for catrastphic and administrative cost with bulk buying is a good idea……If implemented correctly the average person would save as much as 50 percent on healthcare if you combine behavioral based pricing models…..Finally, the GOP should be focused on cleaning up the plan….not the politics……

      The studies against Obamacare are very misleading……..Many of the people against it in the study are for single payer system…….Logically the GOP we not gain their vote…….Newt knows that this issue will not help the GOP on a macro, with the current strategy……the numbers do not add up……No way will the let them die with preexisting condition approach will work on a macro with voters…..You talk with any strategist, they will tell you the presedential primary debate with the GOP crowd cheering for that approach was a killer on this issue…….

  1. Harry says:

    Kill it first and then build something better. That’s how politics works. Maybe Newt has been reduced to pandering to Chris Matthews.

    • benevolus says:

      OK, so throw out the democratic process and put someone in charge to build something better. I nominate Obama!

    • Joshua Morris says:

      I agree with Harry. Obamacare addresses a system with problems by making it unbearable for most. The best course would be to repeal O-care and then to remove incentives for employers to buy group insurance. Let the market create coverage groups, and let people own their insurance. Employers could still provide a benefit by paying an insurance allowance to the employee, but each individual needs to be the customer for his own insurance policy.

      • This is a great example of the whole BS “if you like the insurance you have you can keep it” argument. Obviously, under your proposed alternative, many people who like the insurance they have wouldn’t be able to keep it, they’d just go buy similar insurance under a different arrangement. I’m fine with that – insurance is/should be a commoditized product no different than the type of gas you put in your car, if your gas station closes you can just go across the street and get it from there instead.

        But my guess is that even though you endorse a plan that will violate the “if you like it you can keep it” rule, you support politicians (who also support a future where if you like it you can keep it won’t be honored) who will try to make political hay from the fact that Obamacare will ultimately violate this – even though they themselves don’t care about it.

        And that kind of goes to the point Newt is trying to make, and bravo to him for putting it out there. It’s the same as how Paul Ryan wants some Medicare cuts, and when Barack Obama puts the exact same cuts into Obamacare, all of a sudden Republicans start attacking him for cutting Medicare. Of course, they are really mad because they wanted to use the Medicare cuts to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, and Obama used it to finance Obamacare, but the voters luckily so far have been smart enough to see through this, mostly.

        • Joshua Morris says:

          Actually, it’s nothing even close to the ‘BS’ you mention. You make some baseless assumptions.

          I said exactly what I meant. Individuals should buy their own insurance and be the customers of the insurance companies–not employers, and not government. Pretty simple.

          Newt here is following the destructive theory of the Hegelian dialectic. Having a replacement policy is not mandatory to removing a policy that is a failure on its own.

            • Joshua Morris says:

              Whose problem is it? And whose job is it to find a solution? Government sure isn’t going to offer a good one. Government intervention has destroyed any possibility for the market to solve this, but the private sector would create affordable options if we would let it.

              • Scott65 says:

                The utter stupidity of your comment is mind blowing. So you think the market should determine who has/how much they pay for insurance. That throws MILLIONS of people under the bus. The free market has no care in as far as whats right, who dies, or any other moral concern. They make money, and if a couple million people die…so be it. Governments main role is to keep us safe through national defense and regulation. You free market purists need to take a hard look at reality. Unbridled capitalism is far worse than anything you’d ever want to experience

                • Joshua Morris says:

                  I can’t help but laugh at these type responses. Believing that government cannot solve healthcare problems is not the same as ‘throw(ing) people under the bus’ or wanting to ‘let the people die.’ Some of you will always believe government is the answer–no matter what. Go ahead. It will throw YOU under the bus again and again.

                  Government is not interested in your individual healing. Everything government does is about funding. That’s it. This is exactly why we hear about death panels. Are they going to ‘let people die?’ You bet. Just wait and see.

                  • John Konop says:


                    Do not get your point? So you advocating a for profit company to decide how much they spend on keeping you alive? The exchange model was a way to put this in the hands of the customer……If executed correctly, an individual would have catastrophic coverage…..and then the person could make the decision, not the government or a for profit insurance company…… You understand this would put the power into the individuals hands? The exchange allows people to form their own insurance company across the country……

                    The government is still needed to make sure that the reinsurance companies meet proper reserve standards ( like I warned about the in the banking crisis before it hit), disclosure issues, preexisting condition issues…….But the exchange would be controlled by the person not anybody else if designed correctly…….

                    • Joshua Morris says:

                      When government makes demands of what a business must do, control is no longer in the hands of the customer.

                    • John Konop says:

                      If I follow your logic you are against mandatory insurance for drivers? Are you against disclosure laws on products?……..The world is very grey…..ideologues got lost in the real world……

                    • Joshua Morris says:

                      Apples and oranges, John. Surely you’ve seen this comparison debunked a hundred times already. Auto insurance is so different from health insurance. The purpose of mandatory liability auto insurance is to protect other drivers if the insured causes a wreck. Health insurance is solely for the insured.

                      You don’t even know what an ideologue is.

                    • John Konop says:


                      If someone does not have health insurance and they get sick who do think pays?

                      ………The average U.S. family and their employers paid an extra $1,017 in health care premiums last year to compensate for the uninsured, according to a study to be released Thursday by an advocacy group for health care consumers.

                      Families USA, which supports expanded health care coverage, found that about 37% of health care costs for people without insurance — or a total of $42.7 billion — went unpaid last year. That cost eventually was shifted to the insured through higher premiums, according to the group……


                    • Joshua Morris says:

                      Do you think those people are all of a sudden going to pay for insurance now? Probably not, and we’ll just be paying for them in a different way. There are better solutions.

              • benevolus says:

                You act as if government created health insurance. I think the truth is that the free market had its chance and didn’t earn an unregulated place in the economy.

                You also act as if there is some fantastic land where there is minimal government intervention and things are beautiful. But you cannot name that place.

                Very smart people all around the world have already tackled these issues under all kinds of different circumstances and we are gravitating towards a pretty decent solution. There is no shame in learning from others.

                • Joshua Morris says:

                  No, government did not create health insurance, but rather ruined it. Are you aware of how much medicare reimbursement rates affect what private insurance companies pay providers? Or how much government affects labor-intensive coding requirements (ICD) to track disease information? Are you aware of how much hospitals raise rates on private insurers to cover for medicare and medicaid losses due to their low reimbursement rates? I’ll answer that one for you–hospitals charge private insurers on average more than 135% of their already bloated costs to cover the losses from entitlement programs.

                  I’d love for you to show me some of these ‘very smart people around the world’ who have adequately ‘tackled these issues’ through government intervention without rationing care or enacting serious debt and/or oppressive tax rates. Is spending $trillions to leave a projected 30 million people uninsured a ‘pretty decent solution?’ Seriously, it’s just another big waste of this Nation’s dwindling wealth.

                  • benevolus says:

                    So… if government ruined it then getting government out of it must be the solution? We’re actually more sophisticated than that, I think.

                    You still have no example, no evidence, anywhere in the world, maybe ever in history, where this free market concept has been successfully implemented?

                    • Joshua Morris says:

                      Pre-FDR America? That was easy. So you say we’re too ‘sophisticated’ to learn from experience and get government failure out of our health insurance industry. Explains a lot.

            • DP714 says:

              I come home from work and see that my house is on fire. Suddenly, I have the desire to purchase a “fire insurance policy” that I hope will cover the costs for this, so I call up a company to see what my options are. They basically tell me they won’t be able to help me with my current predicament, due to only providing coverage for potential future fires, and not currently burning ones… Should they be forced to “insure” me and cover me for this?

                • seenbetrdayz says:

                  People die John. Sorry you weren’t aware of that.

                  But in all seriousness, I’m afraid Obamacare is gonna have to go into full effect before some of you folks realize that the government can’t fix problems it creates. All I ask is that if the ‘affordable’ care act makes my insurance any ‘less affordable’ than it is now, will you all be willing to pay the difference? Out of your pocket to mine?

                • DP714 says:

                  I admit it wasn’t the best comparison. It should be considered that mandating that insurance companies not deny anyone with a pre-existing condition, you’re essentially telling them they must take on a risky business venture, being that the costs they bear are almost guaranteed to be greater than profits earned from that individual. To make up for this added risk factor and decrease in profits, and their rates WILL have to go up across the board, for everyone else. In the long run, for many there would be no longer be an incentive to purchase insurance until after one develops a “pre-existing” condition, and what do you know? Costs go up more. It would ultimately end up as a single payer system…how convenient. I doubt we’d ever reach that point though, but as has been mentioned, people won’t realize how bad the idea is until they witness the actual ramifications of its implementation. That’s just the economic argument, but there are others to consider. Personally, this recurring theme of the government constantly needing to “reform” a problem that always happens to be the result of what it previously offered as a solution, is enough to convince me that literally anything that doesn’t repeal something, will likely be the subject of “needing reform” a few years down.

                  • John Konop says:

                    The exchange concept of people’s self insuring in large groups was the off set designed by the conservative think tank HF and Newt years ago…..When you combine bulk buying savings, administravive overhead savings, behavior based solutions, combines with everyone paying and cutting out the insurance companies other than catastrophic insurance it does work……This was the conservative alternative to single payer……But hey please do not let facts get in the way of a life and death issue….

                    1) Self insured exchanges controled by consumers would save about 20

                    2) Just on drugs alone the VA spends 60 percent less……

                    3) Behavior based solutions have been working… Kaiser has done great job with dial doc……

                    4) The current system is worse than single payer, because we pay way more than any develop country in the world…..And we have incentive for people to abuse the system, by people who use us as emergency healthcare policy, while many of us pay the bill….

                    • Joshua Morris says:

                      Fine. Then let’s make the exchanges purely optional and not tax corporations for not covering their employees.

                      The current system has its problems because of insurance companies, Medicaid, and Medicare. Coding requirements, clearing houses, and relentless denials of claims by insurance companies and federal agencies have increased medical overhead to unbearable levels for individual doctors. This is why they have all gone to work for a hospital or clinic group. Now, you have the additional layer of CMOs that exist for no other reason than to make unnecessary jobs for people and pay ‘executives’ six figure salaries. Know a little bit about the industry before you try to explain it to us. Medical billing has been manipulated to extort billions from the American People, and you want to argue about pre-existing conditions. You might need to understand a little about the root of the problem first.

                    • John Konop says:


                      I agree with you on the coding, denial and billing issues…..if we redesigned the exchange system that gave more flexibility to the individual we could fix some of the gaming in the system…..The billing system issue is an combination of problems from old systems housing data, poor process, payment and billing not tied together well……I worked on some payment intergration projects in this area……Once again it is all fixable……

  2. Harry says:

    Sorry, the cost to the middle class and young healthy people is too great. Obamacare is already a fail, and will never be implemented in the current form.

    • saltycracker says:

      I’m fine with that as long as they don’t have any expectations from public funds beyond humane stabilization and directions to a charitable organization. Unfortunately we can’t seem to get agreement on that.

      Absent the right of refusal of services we must have a personal mandate on insurance. Private insurance not the fraud ridden, bloated government run system of healthcare.

  3. northside101 says:

    ..and Republicans don’t have to have (or offer) anything, as the Constitution (that quaint document) doesn’t mention “national health care” as one of the enumerated powers of Congress, despite what John Roberts may think. On a related thought, I would like to know how many congressmen of either party read all 2,400 or so pages of the bill…certainly they have had time to do so since its passage, when Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass the bill in order to know what is in there…not holding my breath that the Democrats will admit they read EVERY page of the massive bill and UNDERSTAND it (if they didn’t, then they should not have voted for it)

    • What a load of crap. You think the average Republican member of Congress reads every page of every bill they vote for or against? It’s a citizen legislature and laws and regulations are complicated. That’s not where they are there for.

  4. Price’s bill is a joke – letting people opt out of Medicare? What non-wealthy American in their right mind would opt out of socialized medicine when it’s going to be most expensive?

    More likely, if Price’s bill ever passed, dumbass 25 year olds would opt out of Medicare and then when they turn 65 they’d be asking for an even bigger handout when they could no longer afford their coverage.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      Not likely. Those dumbass 25 year olds know there won’t be anything for them when they turn 65, regardless. Or, perhaps more specifically, they’ll get a check for $25,000 a month and won’t be able to buy a day’s worth of groceries.

  5. northside101 says:

    Yeah, Chris—a load of crap could describe the 2400-page bill, the passage of which undoubtedly contributed to the GOP takeover of the House in 2010, despite the warning signs (such as Scott Brown’s election in blue Massachusetts) that passage of more big government legislation was going to prove very costly for the Democrats. At least Price’s bill is much smaller,,, and of course if we followed the Constitution, no one would be forced to participate in Medicare in the first place. (If I recall, LBJ claimed in the 1960s that Medicare would run about $9 billion a year by 1990—oops, he was off by about 10-fold, but of course he had long since passed from this earth by that time.)

    But you are right that laws and regulations are complicated—all the more reason that bills should not be 2,400 pages long, should be broken up into smaller sections. And not telling institutions (like Catholic ones) what type of coverage they should provide.

    • benevolus says:

      I believe that religious institution issue has been resolved:

      “The final rule, released on June 28 and accepted by CHA, exempts churches and houses of worship from the mandate. Other nonprofit religious employers like hospitals and schools must provide the contraception benefit or, if they object on moral grounds, they can notify insurers or third-party administrators to provide separate no-cost contraceptive coverage to enrollees who request it without the employer taking any specific action.”

    • Politics isn’t just about who is in charge every possible moment. Maybe Obama and many Democrats saw the opportunity to shift the law to one that provides coverage options for people with pre-existing conditions and subsidies for people who can’t afford health insurance and thought it was worth the risk of losing control of Congress in order to pass it.

      From a long term horizon, I would argue it was worth it, Scott Brown, John Boehner and all. Some people on this site don’t realize it, but the debate has been changed. Even if Obamacare doesn’t look anything 10 years from now like it does presently, any modification/replacement is likely to take care of these pressing problems that Democratic voters (and even many Republican politicians) had said prior to 2009 were a priority for generations.

      I assume your party has people of similar principle – just look at all the Republicans who would make the Ryan budget law even though that would almost certainly lead to a decade out of power…but on at least some major points if you put it into law you’d definitely have some lasting victories, even if most of it was redone or replaced.

  6. Dave Bearse says:

    I appreciate Newt as an idea guy even though I often disagree with his ideas, but tell us something we don’t know, Newt.

  7. Scott65 says:

    Costs for most people wont go up. The right continues to “forget” that anyone within 400% of the poverty level will qualify for subsidies for coverage, but dont let facts get in the way. Price’s bill is laughable if not totally irresponsible when compared to the problem of non coverage. Price obviously chose medicine as a money making endeavor rather than having any care for sick people

    • Dave Bearse says:

      Yeah, but don’t forget you’re talking about people that believe that math allows revenue neutral tax changes to decrease everyone’s taxes.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        Taxpayers, the same folks that have had to make up the revenue shortage resulting from the exemption of employer-provided insurance from taxation for 60 years.

        • Harry says:

          The employer-provided insurance just reduces their taxable income, not their tax bill dollar for dollar. Now the subsidy will have to be paid for 100% by taxpayers.

  8. DavidTC says:

    The bill aims to provide affordable coverage for all through a series of tax credits and deductions designed to entice individuals into the insurance market with positive incentives, as opposed to Obamacare’s solution of fining those who refuse to purchase health insurance.

    Republicans continue to astonish me how they think there is some large moral difference between being charged $X on taxes if you don’t do something, and being given $X in less taxes if you do.

    Yes, that truly is some epic moral difference in health insurance plans, turning it from the worse plan imaginable to the greatest plan EVAR because taxpayers _write things down differently_.

    And they think there’s real difference despite constantly reminding us that everything the government does costs taxpayer money, so what they are _actually_ saying is ‘Instead of keep taxes exactly the same for responsible people, and raising them by $X for irresponsibly ones, we will lower taxes $X for responsible people, and raise baseline $X/number_of_people taxes on everyone to cover the lowering we just did.’.

    Or maybe Republicans don’t plan on raising taxes to cover that cost, increasing the deficit.

    • DavidTC says:

      You know what I think someone should propose in Congress? Altering the ACA in exactly that way…now people get a tax credit instead of a fine.

      And, by _sheer coincidence_, at the same time everyone’s taxes are increased by exactly that amount.

      So it comes out to paying exactly the same thing, but now it’s a ‘incentive’ instead of a ‘fine’. Wooo! Everyone loves Obamacare now!

      It is astonishing what sort of nonsense gets peddled as political thought these days.

    • benevolus says:

      Which is weird because it’s usually liberals who want to use the carrot and conservatives the stick.

      • John Konop says:

        In my opinion, the key to success is the ability to combine carrots and sticks at the proper level……And this is usually a moving target…….which is why ideologue type thinking on any side does not lend itself to problem solving…..

      • DavidTC says:

        It’s not even _really_ the difference between a carrot or stick.

        It’s taking something that’s presented as a stick, and presenting it as a carrot. Which is a reasonable thing to do, I guess it could make things more platable, but it’s not reasonable to pretend that’s some huge moral difference between the country being utterly destroyed and laying in ruins afterwards, and fluffy bunnies and unicorns.

        Hell, it’s not really a stick at all, because the IRS was, rather inexplicably, forbidden to go after people who fail to pay it. If you pay all your taxes _except_ that, the IRS must leave you alone. (Although a lot of people do not have that ‘option’, as they are set up where the IRS collects too much and they get a rebate, so they can’t refuse to pay, because it’s the IRS sending them a check, not the other way around.)

        And there’s already plenty of ‘carrot’ already in the actual ACA. Like the subsidies.

        You shouldn’t sign up for health insurance because you don’t want to pay the fine, the fine is only there so you _notice_ you didn’t sign up.

        The fine is sorta like the rotten egg smell they add to natural gas. That smell isn’t to ‘punish’ you because you’re breathing natural gas, that smell is to tell you _you have gas leak_! The fine is there so you go ‘Wait, I am stupidly uninsured and at risk of impossible medical costs if something happens. Well, crap.’

        • Harry says:

          You make an excellent journalist/apologist for the Obamanation. Maybe a bit of fact checking is in order though.

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