Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Sunday he would have voted for the House Republican budget plan, which includes a Medicare proposal that he criticized last week and then backed off after fellow conservatives denounced his stand.
Gingrich says he would vote for GOP budget plan
The former House speaker also said he expects the Medicare plan to be modified. Gingrich spent much of the first week of his presidential campaign explaining his comments and then apologizing for calling Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare proposal "right-wing social engineering" during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." Ryan's plan essentially would replace the federal healthcare program with a voucher system for buying insurance.
Gingrich, interviewed the same morning on CBS' "Face the Nation," repeated that he had erred in his statements on NBC and noted that he had apologized to Ryan for them. He said he had meant to speak to a general principle that Washington should not impose large-scale change on people and hailed Ryan for beginning a process for explaining what Republicans favor in tackling long-term deficits. "The American people have to have time to ask us questions, to modify the plan if necessary, to get to a point where people are comfortable with it," Gingrich said. "I probably used unfortunate language about social engineering. But my point was really a larger one that neither party should impose on the American people something that they are deeply opposed to."
Gingrich also acknowledged that he no longer supports a mandate to require people to buy insurance. The challenge, he said, is determining how to maximize individual freedom yet make sure that people have some responsibility for their debts. "I do not believe in mandates. In fact, I think that in many ways they're unconstitutional both on religious liberty grounds and on personal liberty grounds," he said. "There are a lot of people who refuse to pay for their healthcare, including people with money. And so we're trying to find a way to match both."
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