The recent call for an expanded federal role in healthcare by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich may not be as surprising as it sounds.
Outliers: Gingrich's latest brainchild
He recently called for the creation of a “brain science institute” to research and disseminate treatment innovations. Gingrich unveiled the initiative, which would create public-private partnerships to fund brain research and translate it into treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, during an interview last week posted on his campaign website.
The new institute is one part of Gingrich’s new three-pronged healthcare initiative, which also calls for the use of electronic health records in clinical studies and changing the tax structure to encourage medical innovators.
The call for expanding federal healthcare infrastructure is a marked departure from Gingrich’s 13-point healthcare plan announced earlier in the campaign that generally echoes the calls of congressional Republicans for the federal government to shrink its role in healthcare. However, the brain institute would mirror an earlier push by the former speaker of the House of Representatives to bolster federal healthcare funding at the National Institutes of Health. Even as congressional Republicans were seeking to reduce increases in other types of federal healthcare spending, Gingrich led a successful push that doubled NIH funding over just five years to $27 billion.
Although the Republican’s campaign did not provide any estimates for the budget of the proposed institute, Gingrich implied in the interview that such spending would more than pay for itself due to the looming multimillion-dollar cost to taxpayers expected from an exponential increase in coming decades of aging baby boomers suffering from Alzheimer’s.
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