Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gingrich Gets It

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Michigan legislators this week that their efforts to improve the health care system should start with a focus on reforming behavior, like a ban on smoking in the workplace and mandatory exercise for school children.

Gingrich, who now heads the Center for Health Transformation, said policymakers, the public and the media often make the mistake of viewing health care reform primarily as a financial challenge, rather than a complex mix of individual behavior, cultural influence and uneven quality.

“If all you do is try to figure out how to finance the current system, you’ll go broke,” he told the state Senate Health Policy Committee. “The current system is stunningly wasteful.”

He said government can encourage healthier eating and living by providing financial and tax incentives, such as providing a food stamp bonus to recipients who purchase more fruits and vegetables, he said.


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