Gingrich Says He Supports 100% Health Care Coverage, Not Universal Mandate

Decorah, Iowa - Newt Gingrich brushed off a newsletter his health consulting company issued in 2006 supporting Mitt Romney's health care plan, saying that while he supported the individual mandate for over a decade, he has since come to oppose it.

"I first talked about mandates at the Heritage Foundation in 1993 fighting Hillarycare," Gingrich told a Iowan who asked him about his changing positions on the Massachusetts health care plan.

"The Heritage Foundation was positive about Romneycare also in 2006. First of all, neither Heritage nor I realized that Romneycare pays - they use taxpayer money to pay for abortions. And neither of us realize that they accepted Planned Parenthood by law as one of the members of their health board."

Gingrich said Monday he would have vetoed the whole bill if he had realized Planned Parenthood's role in Romney's health care plan.

"The difference between Romney and me is we both used to have the wrong idea. I'm willing to say it was the wrong idea; he's not. And I think it's funny that they want to attack me for admitting that I was wrong, but they're not willing to admit that he's not wrong to think he's still right when he's wrong."

It was not the Romney campaign but the Wall Street Journal that dug up a newsletter published by Newt Gingrich's former health consulting company, which in 2006 called the passage of Romney's health care program in Massachusetts "the most exciting development of the past few weeks" with "tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system."

"Newt Notes" declaratively states, "We agree strongly with this principle" of individual mandates, but the newsletter - which has since been taken down from the website -- goes on to raise questions about the requirement's affordability for low-income residents, recommending it apply only to Massachusetts residents who "earn upwards of $54,000 per year."

"While in theory the plan should be affordable if the whole state contributes to the cost, the reality is that Massachusetts has an exhaustive list of health coverage regulations prohibiting insurers from offering more basic, pared-down policies with higher deductibles."

In Decorah, Gingrich said he would like to see all citizens have access to health care but that doesn't mean a mandate is necessary.

"We're not going to let people die on the streets. So everybody - we basically have functioning a hundred percent access to health care and we'd be horrified if somebody showed up to the emergency room and we kicked them out and we'd say, you go die, you aren't prudent. So, so the idea that I want a hundred percent for Americans shouldn't strike people as terrible, I think that's - the question is, how do you get there in a constitutional way."