(CNSNews.com) — Former House Speaker New Gingrich (R-Ga.), a likely 2012 presidential candidate, told CNSNews.com today that he does not regret supporting the enactment of the Medicare prescription drug plan which now presents the federal government with a $7.2 trillion unfunded liability.
An unfunded liability is a benefit the federal government has promised to pay that is not matched by tax revenue to fund it and thus represents an anticipated increase in the national debt.
Gingrich was no longer a member of Congress when he supported passage of the drug plan in 2003, but was a high-profile advocate of its enactment–writing op-eds and giving interviews vigorously arguing that it was good legislation.
Gingrich said today that for the federal government to fund medical procedures such as kidney dialysis for seniors, but not drugs such as insulin–something the federal government did not do until after the 2003 law was passed–would be “an utterly anti-human provision.”
At a press conference on Friday, CNSNews.com asked Gingrich, “You were a prominent supporter of the Medicare prescription drug plan that President Bush signed into law in 2003. The Medicare trustees now say that plan is $7.2 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years. Do you regret your support for the plan looking back?”
“No,” said Gingrich. “I think that we–I mean, I am for dramatic reform of Medicare. I chaired the Medicare reform task force which saved it in 1996 when the trustees said it was going to go broke, and we passed changes which enabled them to say that we had postponed any problem for well over a decade.