Newt Gingrich is an American scholar, politician and a man of big ideas. Not all big ideas are meant to be put into practice, but these comments from an interview in The Intelligencer article titled Gingrich: Republican Party Recovering are worth putting into action (emphasis mine):
Q: What should be the approach on health care?
A: I think you need a totally new approach. I think you need to start with the individual, you’ve got to focus on individual responsibility, on wellness, on early testing, on learning to manage chronic diseases. You have to focus on fundamental change.
We just got into a little argument in upstate New York on a school district that was going to block kids from riding their bicycle or walking (to school.) We wrote a letter and got in the middle of it and said this is exactly wrong, you want kids to walk to school, you want kids to ride their bikes to school. You want to have K through 12 physical education, you want to rethink the school lunch program and the school breakfast program so that it’s good food for diabetics.
Then you have to look at the delivery systems. You have two hospitals (in Wheeling.) You need to apply the Toyota production system model, the work of Drucker … the best systems in America are just amazingly effective and much less expensive. We have to move to that. We can’t afford to pay unnecessarily because we have to be able to compete with China and India and you cannot do that if you start out every morning with a multi-billion dollar burden.
We need to borrow from the best systems in America, China, India, Japan, the UK, it doesn’t matter which country and we shouldn’t be too patriotic when it comes to finding solutions to keeping people healthy. Both the Toyota Production System and individual responsibility are things we need a lot more of in the world. Al Gore fights against climate change. Perhaps Newt Gingrich can champion these two ideas in the U.S. and abroad.