Newt: ‘Winning requires changes’ |

Newt: ‘Winning requires changes’

Veronica WhitneyVail correspondent

The United States should make heath care reform its top priority, Newt Gingrich told a full house at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek on Friday. Gingrich was in town for the annual World Forum, also being attended by Vice President Dick Cheney.The history of the United States, health care and Social Security reform were among the topics Gingrich, who is being mentioned as a possible candidate for president in 2008, touched on during his presentation at the free Volvo for Life Public Forum. The forum is part of the annual AEI World Forum, which continues this weekend.Since leaving the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999, Gingrich has written several books. His newest is titled “Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract With America.”The question posed in the book is whether America can survive the dangers of terrorism, meet global economic challenges, reform Social Security and improve its health care system.”You need to be thinking about the lessons of the past,” Gingrich said. “Winning requires changes. “We either go the direction of the Europeans or we suit-up and compete,” he added.Gingrich said the Bush administration should make transforming health care the top priority. And health savings accounts are the way to go, he said.”The left hates it because it’s an individual model, not a collectible one,” Gingrich said.Gingrich also talked about the need to move to private Social Security savings accounts.”Every person under 40 in this country should have an option on this program,” he said.The Republican also said he is for a lower tax economy and also abolishing the death tax.Gary Thornton, 62, of Edwards, was among the hundreds who attended the event.”I’ve always been fascinated by him, but I don’t always agree with his politics,” Thornton said. “I’m not as conservative as he is, but I’d like to hear his point of view.”Though he said he doesn’t plan to buy Gingrich’s new book, Mitch Imber also listened to what he had to say Friday.”I want to see his views on national security,” said Imber, 62, of Wolcott. “I do believe it’s time for a change and I thought that way during the past election, but I’m interested in what he has to say because he might be the Republican presidential candidate in 2008.”