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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Health, Politics | 6 comments

Newt The Libertarian

Appearing on Meet the Press on Sunday, Newt Gingrich aired his objections to the mandatory health insurance provision of the ACA. He did agree that individuals should be responsible for their health care costs. His counter proposal, not unreasonable on its face, was that individuals who did not want to purchase health insurance be required to post a bond that would cover health care costs or provide other proof of health expense accountability.

While the proposal itself is worthy of consideration, the rationale was a bit remarkable, referring to it as a plan that would “make most libertarians relatively happy.” So let’s get this straight. Imposing a new federally enforceable requirement that people post bonds, a form of insurance, or requiring proof to the federal government of health cost accountability, is a libertarian concept according to Newt.

In another part of the discussion, Gingrich rejected the approach of Paul Ryan to replace Medicare with a voucher system. He called it “radical” and too big a change, including this challenge to the plan:

“I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering.”

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  • dduck

    Let’s face it insurance can’t properly work without the “mandatory” participation of the greatest potential benefit recipients. This is not free loading 101, but insurance 101.
    Romney was right before he was wrong, and a bond has a premium which again makes it mandatory.

  • DLS

    Gingrich is hardly an anti-federal-excess person*. Here he shows again that he is not, with the bond or financial responsibility requirement.

    * I knew this about Gingrich post-1994 when he published his book that raised ethical questions (perhaps setting an example for so many other book “writers” in Washington and in government elsewhere to follow since then). Gingrich said in his book that there should be tougher federal anti-drug laws and greater use of civil asset forfeiture (seizure of money and personal property under the presumption, real or bogus, that it’s tainted by drug law violations).

  • DLS

    D. Duck wrote:

    Let’s face it insurance can’t properly work without the “mandatory” participation of the greatest potential benefit recipients. This is not free loading 101, but insurance 101.

    Well, the pool of insured people has to be as large as possible, at least. Alternatives I provided and suggested regarding ObamaCo “reform” of health care included requiring community rating for health insurance in the states, or even multi-state pools or a single federal pool (probably attempting too much). Having a single pool in each state (at least) would help reduce costs. It remains controversial to have everyone buy health insurance — and without laws regarding how pools are formed, if the young healthy people started buying insurance, they’d be shunted into their own group, probably, by once-again-cherry-picking health insurers.

  • DLS

    D. Duck: Note that insurers are free to exclude people for various reasons due to underwriting. There may be an end to exclusions for pre-existing conditions, but what if one’s medical history is quite expensive? There’s no law that forces insurers to issue insurance to such people — except in states that are “shall issue” states, that require (legally compel or force) health insurers to issue policies.

    Another suggestion I had provided for examples of reform that were straightforward and make sense was to implement “shall issue” laws applicable to all states (or make it a federal law that does this for all states, which may be seen as excessive, as with community rating, for example).

  • dduck

    Good points, DLS.

  • Ha! Newt isn’t even remotely libertarian. We’re talking about a man who once called for the death penalty for drug dealers as well as an AEI member who slavishly defended the Iraq War and the USA Patriot Act.

    And I agree with Elijah. Newt’s health insurance “bond” requirement might be seen as a realistic alternative to the individual mandate, but for Newt to defend the “bond” requirement on “libertarian” grounds is absolutely laughable.

    If this is the best he can do, then Newt might as well write off the libertarian vote. Heck, I’m not even sure that most Tea Party types would vote for him.

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