Newt Gingrich
Former Speaker of the House

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is the founder of the Center for Health Transformation and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

'Bad Policy Any Way You Look At It'

It was very disappointing to see House Democrats' health-care bill. Every American should be disappointed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) chose a partisan political power-grab over solving real problems. They dismissed the deep concerns of conservative Democrats like my friend Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.). They ignored the protests of small business groups. They ignored the American people who have said they favor sound, rational ideas to pay for real reform rather than raising taxes, exploding the deficit even further and destroying private insurance.

I found myself agreeing with the Washington Post's lead editorial on July 15. Their point against raising taxes was exactly right. They said it was "bad policy any way you look at it." An open-ended tax increase with a specific provision that it could go even higher in the midst of a painful recession?

Saddling small business owners with surtaxes, more mandates from Washington and penalties if they do not comply is fundamentally wrong. A National Federation of Independent Business report in 2006 said there were 1 million small businesses that employed five to nine workers with an average payroll of $375,000. All of them would see a 6 percent tax increase if they do not provide health insurance. Employers with payrolls above $400,000 in payroll would face an 8 percent tax increase. Around that level of payroll, we're not talking about corporate America. That's a local physician office, a hardware store, a restaurant, a community pharmacy or a retail shop.

Once this idea is defeated, we will have an opportunity to pass real reform -- meaningful reform that actually improves the quality of care, lowers costs and expands access without raising taxes during a recession.

By Newt Gingrich  |  July 17, 2009; 3:09 PM ET  | Category:  Health Care Reform , Taxes Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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After the "contract with America" and 12 years of republican congressional control, 6 of those years under a republican president, healthcare was the forbidden topic. Why should the likes of the Newt even have a comment here since we know all he will say is NO. NO universal healthcare, NO taxes for healthcare, NO overhaul of healthcare, NO NO NO.

The Post needs to find people who at least have alternate ideas or can justify the current broken system. Why bring NOewt into this discussion? You might as well have asked a Hells Angel to comment on the laws of the road or speed cameras.

What needs to happen, and healthcare will be a mess until it does, is to decouple healthcare from employment. My employer allows a choice of 6 insurance plans. My wife's office allowed 3. The Feds have something like 9 to choose from. Many have none. The price of the same insurance in different companies varies based on the group risk and employer coverage. But what is worse is that if I lose my job I still have homeowner's insurance, car insurance and other insurance I obtain on my own and not coupled with my employer. Ony healthcare seems to require employment to be affordable.

Decouple healthcare from employment so all have to buy it individually with laws to protect those with existing conditions. Let each employee receive their company's current contribution. Allow 50% or more of what you pay individually for healthcare to be tax free to avoid that additional income being taxed. Let people shop for health insurance as we shop for home and car insurance. With everyone on a level playing field rates should go down since they will become more competitive. The government should come up with its own health plan or subsidize some health plans for the poor.

As long as we keep this silly employer-based model of distributing health insurance we will always have uninsured and always the fear and risk of losing health insurance for something as unrelated to health as losing a job. The system as it stands is stupid and leads to a high rate of uninsured. Anyone can see that, even a Newt. Fix it NOW!

Posted by: bevjims1 | July 20, 2009 11:52 AM
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One would be hard press to consider any suggestion coming from "THE NEWT." As I recall in 1994, he was the architect of the 'INFAMOUS' "Contract with America", more like the "CONTRACT ON AMERICA".

He and his Republican lead House of Representatives set the foundation for this Mortgage Meltdown, and the Collapse of the Financial Markets, in 2008.

Every Safeguard, and Regulation to protect the consumer, was "MUTILATED", thanks to the "NEWTSER", and Senator Phil Graham(R-TX).

It's a "Sad Commentary", when the Washington Post has to turn to people like "THE NEWT", for Advice. Their Budget must be Dried up.

If Newt, "Told me the SUN was Shining, I would go outside and See for Myself."


Posted by: austininc4 | July 19, 2009 11:03 PM
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Is this really correct. Here a comment that describes what I thought was the way it went:

"If you own a small business and file as an individual, on your Schedule C you get to deduct your operating expenses. That is, the money you spend on salaries, supplies, rent/mortgage, advertising, licenses and fees, depreciation on equipment does not count in your income!

Only if Uncle Joe clears a profit of 300,000 and chooses to draw it out rather than invest in new equipment or whatever would he show an income of 300,000. That is, he's really making 300,000 for himself, same as a "fat cat" who gets 300,000 on a W2. If Joe gets 300,000 in receipts and spends 290,000 of it on operating expenses, then his 1040 shows a whopping 10,000 in income.

Please, let's stop this "small business owners who file as individuals" line -- it ignores how the tax laws really work."

Posted by: lensch | July 17, 2009 4:32 PM
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