Former Speaker, Newt Gingrich, discussed his views on healthcare today. Not only did Newt criticize the GOP's recent attempt to reform Medicare as "too radical" and "right-wing social engineering," but he also stuck with his guns in support of the individual mandate at the state level.
Newt supported the individual mandate back in 1993 and is not backing away from that idea today despite the fact that a healthcare mandate remains very unpopular amongst GOP voters.
Newt stated that the idea of an individual mandate is a fairly conservative way to reform healthcare. Newt challenged republicans to come up with an alternative plan to reform healthcare. Republicans, while strongly condemning most attempts to reform healthcare, have not been able to produce many viable, practical plans themselves. The fact is that the individual mandate has been the best plan produced by conservatives for reforming healthcare in recent decades, but now a majority of the party, in an unfortunate flip-flop, has repudiated the idea.
I gained some respect for Speaker Gingrich after hearing him express these views on healthcare. It takes courage to stick to your guns on a policy when it is well known that such a policy is unpopular.
Gov. Romney and Speaker Gingrich now stand together in supporting the individual mandate at the state level. This should take some of the heat off of Romney when standing on the debate stage this year.