More consulting trouble for Newt. Since 2003, a Gingrich-founded think tank has pulled in at least $37 million from the health-care industry—and has called for an insurance mandate reminiscent of President Obama’s. Wellpoint, Blue Cross Blue Shield, AstraZeneca, and other members of the Center for Health Transformation paid as much as $200,000 in yearly dues; in exchange, they got “direct Newt interaction,” or at least so promised the think tank's promotional materials, the Washington Post reports. Gingrich ran the center until he left this year for the campaign trail.
Along with Obama-esque calls for centralized electronic health records whose data could be used to investigate a treatment’s usefulness, the center urged a system wherein "anyone who earns more than $50,000 a year must purchase health insurance or post a bond." A rep for the center said the GOP hopeful was a “health care visionary” who supported extensive reform "before many of these concepts in health care became mainstream." But the group’s "Insure All Americans" plan was apparently removed from its website yesterday, and in a recent campaign video, Gingrich says he is "completely opposed to the ObamaCare mandate on individuals." (Read more Newt Gingrich stories.)