Coming on the heels of reports that Newt Gingrich received nearly $2 million in consulting fees from Freddie Mac, the New York Times reports today that the former Speaker also consulted for a health care company that supported “death panels” – and Gingrich even publicly promoted the policy:
Writing on the website of the Washington Post, Mr. Gingrich praised Gundersen Lutheran Health System of LaCrosse, Wis., for its successful efforts to persuade most patients to have “advance directives,” saying that if Medicare had followed Gundersen’s lead on end-of-life care and other practices, it would “save more than $33 billion a year.”
But within weeks, Mr. Gingrich would find himself on the wrong end of what some Republicans labeled the “death panel” issue.
At the time Gingrich penned the column, he was also receiving fees from Gundersen, the Times reports:
On Thursday, Mr. Gingrich’s spokesman confirmed that Gundersen was one of the paying clients of Mr. Gingrich’s Center for Health Transformation, a health consulting firm whose other clients have included WellPoint, the American Hospital Association, and various other major health care concerns. His spokesman, R. C. Hammond, said the center has revenues of about $5 million a year.
Gingrich already had plenty of baggage coming into the race, as Jonathan outlined earlier this week. He was already the candidate who supported the individual mandate, the liberal argument on global warming, and called Paul Ryan’s budget plan “right-wing social engineering.” But the extreme aversion that some conservatives have for Romney may have tempted them to overlook Gingrich’s previous lapses and support him anyway. The problem is, more evidence is coming out showing Gingrich has taken positions completely at odds with mainstream conservatism. As these new examples continue to pile up, conservatives may find it more and more difficult to forgive.