Gingrich's policy positions draw attention as his popularity in polls grows

The Boston Globe examines how Gingrich's view of the individual mandate has changed. Meanwhile, Reuters reports on GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's efforts to keep his record as governor of Massachusetts under wraps. Finally, Rick Santorum gets into a health policy fracas in Iowa.

Boston Globe: Gingrich Amassing Pile Of Policy Shifts
Among the latest twists in the Republican presidential campaign is this: Mitt Romney, long accused by foes of flip-flopping on issues, is now being given a run for his money by another candidate who shares the same liability: Newt Gingrich. For years, Gingrich supported the idea that citizens could be required by mandate to buy health insurance, like in the health care overhauls initiated by Romney while he was governor of Massachusetts in 2006 and on the national level by President Obama last year. Now, Gingrich opposes such an idea (Mooney, 12/6).

Boston Globe: Gingrich Soars In Polls Of Early Voting States
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is soaring in the early voting states, at the expense of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, according to two new NBC/Marist polls... But at least in New Hampshire, Romney's most obvious Achilles heel – his support for an individual mandate for health insurance in Massachusetts – may not matter as much. While 59 percent of Republicans said support for such a mandate would not be acceptable, even higher percentages of voters would reject a candidate who favors in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, as Perry does (83 percent), who would tolerate Iran building a nuclear weapon, as Paul does (84 percent), or who earned substantial fees advising Freddie Mac, as Gingrich did (61 percent) (Schoenberg, 12/5).

Reuters: Romney Staff Spent Nearly $100,000 To Hide Records
Mitt Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret, Reuters has learned. ... As Massachusetts governor, Romney worked with a Democrat-led state house to close a budget shortfall and signed a health care overhaul that required nearly all state residents to buy insurance or face penalties (Hosenball, 12/5).

ABC: Rick Santorum Has Tense Exchange On Gay Rights And Health Care In Iowa
Santorum also had a tense moment when a student asked him about health care and the Christian responsibility of caring for the poor. The student said he didn't "think God appreciates the fact that we have 50 to 100,000 uninsured Americans dying due to a lack of health care every year," citing a 2009 study out of Harvard University. "Dying?" Santorum answered before going back and forth about the validity of the study. "The answer is not what can we do to prevent deaths because of a lack of health insurance. There's -; I reject that number completely, that people die in America because of lack of health insurance," Santorum said to a crowd of 100 (Walshe, 12/6).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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