Newt Gingrich’s surprising comments on health care and, particularly, Medicaid are a reminder of how this issue will shape the presidential and congressional campaigns heading towards the 2012 election. All the former Speaker had to do was express any sympathy with Obamacare and the GOP leadership got rattled.
Rep. Paul Ryan who has taken a lead role in defining a policy to reshape Medicaid was rightly upset with Gingrich’s comments.
Both Ryan and Gingrich are Catholic politicians, the former with future presidential aspirations, and the latter a declared candidate. Gingrich was quick to explain that his comments were in no way an attack on Rep. Ryan, but the steam was already rising out of the kettle.
It would be interesting if both Ryan and Gingrich, and other Catholic political leaders, would begin to address the goal set forth by the Catholic bishops of achieving universal health care without abortion funding. The bishops have never specified how this goal should be met, but they did applaud Obamacare for setting forth that mandate.
I recently published a short overview of a Catholic approach to the health care issue in the 2012 election. It contains the basic outline of the debate, past and future, and suggests an approach to universal health care — respecting the principle of subsidiarity — should be pursued to replace Obamacare.