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Gingrich Hand Delivers Healthcare Position to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

January 8, 2012

Newt Gingrich answers questions from Dartmouth Medical Center staff and students in a closed-door press conference. Photo by Christopher Roy

LEBANON, N.H. - Republican candidates spent the weekend crisscrossing New Hampshire in a last minute attempt to sway voters before that state’s primary election tomorrow. One of those was Newt Gingrich who spoke to medical professionals at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Friday morning.
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman visited DHMC last Tuesday.
The fundamental problems in Washington are deep and intellectually challenging and there needs to be conversations on how “we” approach things, Gingrich told a closed audience.
"Great innovation is decentralized, semi-spontaneous, led by unique people doing unique things," he said. "Large, bureaucratic, centralized systems are inherently control-oriented and inherently unwilling to take unique risks."
"I believe in transparency of cost and quality for all health transactions," he said. "The problems is, the intellectual bias in this country today is in favor of rational economic bureaucracies, which somehow make wise decisions, which is antithetical to all of human history.”
“All bureaucracies become political. All bureaucracies acquire self-interest. All bureaucracies impose ideologies."
He continued: "We're on the edge of revolution in biology on a scale which will make the physics revolution of the 20th century look tiny. Our ability 30 years from now to have truly personalized medicine will be unimaginable compared what we do today."
Gingrich said all medical schools should rethink themselves from the ground up because they are
profoundly obsolete.
"You start with a simple model, none of you are ever going to get educated,” Gingrich said. “It’s not possible. You’re transients. Whatever you knew this year is marginally obsolete next year, will be remarkably obsolete in 10 years."
That's why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a huge problem, Gingrich said. He added that some of the FDA people know really good science from 26 years ago and are confused by the new stuff and want to know why they should learn it.
Gingrich said brain science will help create breakthroughs with such diseases as autism, Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s, and mental health. "There is no single investment, which will do more to save lives and money, than an extraordinary commitment to brain science," he said.
There are three or four things that need to be done in order to change healthcare. One is to have a standard openness on cost and quality and to make sure the information is easily obtainable by consumers. The country also needs to find a method for continuous education for professionals. There needs to be a way to optimize the rate of transition for better outcomes. There also needs to be a payment system according to what the country values.
Gingrich spoke highly of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s experiment where some Medicaid participants received a Christmas cash bonus if they didn’t use the emergency room because they saved the state money. The outcome, Gingrich said, was that people changed their behavior because poor people respond to a cash.
Gingrich briefly turned to national security and said that he and President Bill Clinton created the Hart-Rudman Commission. It was the largest national security review since 1947. Part of that included going to the Kennedy School at Harvard where he met with numerous individuals including the Under Secretary of Defense.
When President George W. Bush took office, Gingrich became engaged in national security and health. During that time, a total of six years, Gingrich learned two things. The first is that healthcare is 10 times more complicated than national security. The second is that "none of the bureaucracies work."
“HHS doesn’t work; DOD doesn’t work. The military sort of works, because life and death gives you a driving force,” he said. “But, you get outside the combat military, the rest of the system doesn’t work either. The intelligence community doesn’t work; the state department doesn’t even think about working."
Gingrich answered a few questions later from medical professionals. While his presentation was held before a packed house, enthusiasm seemed dampened. One observer noted that the crowd looked as if they were attending a church sermon while listening to a football game through their ear piece.

 

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