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Newt Gingrich, health reform visionary

Today's find from Andrew Kaczynski shows Newt Gingrich again extolling the virtues of the individual mandate.

Today's find from Andrew Kaczynski shows Newt Gingrich again extolling the virtues of the individual mandate. "I think you’ve got to require everybody to either have insurance or to post a bond," Mr. Gingrich told a crowd at a health clinic in Bellevue, Nebraska, in 2008. "The fastest-growing section of the uninsured is people over $75,00 income who are making a calculated gamble that if they get sick, you’ll take care of them. And I think that’s just immoral."

This is the same Newt Gingrich who called health reform a monstrosity during a debate this year and told the Heritage Foundation last year: "Repeal is the only reasonable response to the kind of bill that they passed. This was rammed through by a combination of bullying and corruption. When you have a secular, socialist machine, I think the ground rule can’t be that they get to pass what they want and then you're supposed to live with it. The ground rule has to be, if we win the next two elections, that in February or March of 2013, we'll repeal it and then we’ll begin to reform the health system on sound conservative principles rather than on big government, big bureaucracy principles."

Setting aside for a moment the individual mandate's heritage as a conservative idea, an earlier find from Andrew Kaczynski shows Mr. Gingrich arguing for a "four box" of government interventions for getting everyone health coverage -- all the way to reshaping your neighborhood grocery store.

"You have to think about the aspects of the society or the culture that make it harder," he tells someone at a Virginia Conservative Action PAC fundraiser in 2007. "How do we need to reshape food stamps? How do we need to reshape the right grocery stores in poor neighborhoods?"

He says he's for government-required daily physical education for kids from kindergarten through 12th grade and a "real market" that would tell consumers how good their doctors and hospitals are and how much they should be paying.

But wait, there's more! Mr. Gingrich also advances what sounds a lot like a prototype for a health insurance exchange, a version of which is part of the current health reform monstrosity. "We need to have a simple online insurance system that is a competitor to the current state-dominated systems," he says. And then he repeats that thing about how he'd require everyone either to buy insurance or post a bond.