Newt Gingrich on Tuesday described the Massachusetts heath care program that was signed into law by Mitt Romney as the “forerunner” of President Obama’s health care legislation.
The former Republican House Speaker’s comments, made during an American Spectator Newsmaker breakfast, come as Romney’s health care initiative in Massachusetts is drawing increased scrutiny among conservatives for its similarities to the national law passed by Democrats last month.
“It’s the forerunner of Obamacare,” Gingrich said when asked about the Massachusetts plan. “It is a general model in a general direction and it’s the general direction that’s wrong. And that’s why I’m suggesting you need to be thinking about fundamental change, not just marginal reforms.”
Gingrich said that American needed to move away from a system in which most spending flows through third parties (i.e. employers and the government) and is overly bureaucratized.
“If you simply increase spending, and increase the number of people who enter the system and you don’t do anything to fundamentally improve the system, what you end up with is people who end up in emergency rooms instead of doctors offices and skyrocketing costs,” he said. “It’s a mathematical equation.”
Republicans made a mistake by not pushing market-based reforms when they were in power, Gingrich said, which “created the vacuum that the left has now filled with bad ideas.”
This weekend, Romney won the Southern Republican Leadership Conference’s 2012 presidential straw poll by a single vote over Ron Paul, though Gingrich, whose ambitions remain unclear, had a strong showing without any visible organization.
Gingrich did not mention Romney in this morning’s comments this morning about the Massachusetts health care legislation.