Gingrich in Town to Talk Healthcare - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/12/05

Gingrich in Town to Talk Healthcare

Newt Gingrich Newt Gingrich

The rising cost of healthcare has many concerned and brought a Washington mover and shaker to town. Former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was the keynote speaker at state representative Richard Chalk's healthcare forum on Hilton Head Island today.

He's traveling around the country with a three-part plan that he says will cut costs and make sure everyone has health insurance.

"I've talked to doctors who've had up to 77 insurance forms," he said.

Gingrich is calling for a new healthcare system for Americans. "I think we can make the transition in five years where we have 300 million covered by insurance in one form or another," he told us.

The first part of his plan: to give you an incentive to take care of yourself. "If we can recenter the system so that you as an individual are aware of your own health, paying attention to your own health, looking at nutrition and exercise, we can dramatically improve the system."

That includes encouraging people to "shop" for less expensive prescription drugs, much like you might shop online for cheap airfares. Gingrich says half of the savings would go into your pocket. The other half, into the system.

"I think you would bring down drug prices dramatically, just as you have seen with airline fares," Gingrich said.

Part two, he says, includes early detection and DNA testing. That will help treat and may even prevent many conditions. Guidelines from the government, he says, would keep your insurance company from using the information against you. "Your employer shouldn't be able to get it. Your insurance company shouldn't be able to get it and equally important, I'd make it an act of slander if that information was published by the news media, the internet or anything else."

The final part, a paperless or electronic health system. While it could keep medical records--like those lost during Katrina--from being wiped out during a storm--Gingrich says safeguards like those used in the financial world would be essential. 

There's been talk of the former speaker running for president in 2008. He says it's too early to speak about that yet. And says he won't run if another candidate will pick up on his ideas.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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