Pay teenagers not to get pregnant, Republican says
John Byrne
Published: Thursday March 12, 2009

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The man who dubbed Vice President Joe Biden a socialist last September for arguing that paying taxes is "patriotic" appears to have some government redistribution ideas of his own.

Newt Gingrich, often cited as a Republican prospect for president in 2012, says the state should consider paying teenager girls not to get pregnant.

He also says that states should consider paying teenage girls who become pregnant to take prenatal vitamins to forestall paying additional health expenses for neonatal care down the road.

The remarks were made during a tour of Michigan on Wednesday. Gingrich is the founder of the Center for Health Transformation, a not-for-profit group advocating the partnership of private and public interests for health care reform.

Along with his remarks about pregnant teenagers, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives also said Wednesday that state legislators should consider paying poor children to read and individuals not to smoke.

"We need to develop a health-based health reform," Gingrich said, according to AP. "Free of the usual bureaucracy."

Another AP article adds, "The first step in lowering health care costs and insuring all Americans is getting people to change their behavior, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich told state lawmakers Wednesday. The Republican endorsed the carrot over the stick, saying he would pay pregnant teens to take prenatal vitamins and go to the doctor regularly so the government avoids astronomical bills when babies end up in neonatal intensive care units."

"His other ideas include paying teens who don't get pregnant and stay in school; requiring exercise for school children; giving tax breaks to grocery stores that open in the inner city; giving bonuses to food stamp recipients who buy fruits and vegetables; and making students walk to school if they live close enough," the story continues.

"You've got to start with the individual," Gingrich told the Senate Health Policy Committee. "We have not thought through the fundamentals."

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