Local News

Clinton To Discuss Health Care At N.C. State Forum

Posted February 7, 2005 7:51 a.m. EST

— Former President Bill Clinton will discuss health care Monday at the 20th anniversary of the

Emerging Issues Forum

at N.C. State's McKimmon Center.

Earlier in the day, former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said he doesn't believe the current health care system is fixable.

"We have a doctor's office, here's a specialists office, here's the lab, here's the hospital, here's the pharmacist, but they're not connected, and in the spaces in between, all sorts of things go wrong," Gingrich said at the two-day event that will focus on how to make healthcare work in North Carolina

Gingrich believes in developing what he calls a "21st century intelligent health system" -- one in which consumers have the power.

"You should be able to get up in the morning and go to the web and pull your individual health record," Gingrich said.

Doctors and hospitals would have access to that record as well. Gingrich also believes in giving consumers access to compare costs.

"One of the things I strongly recommend is a patient's right to know law, that says individuals have the right to know cost, quality of every provider," Gingrich said.

He advocates the same with comparing costs and quality for prescription drugs -- right on the Internet.

Gingrich says one of his goals is to convince enough states to do this -- so that drug companies have to be conscious of prices.

He'd also like to eliminate co-pays and instead, pay for services yourself with individual health savings accounts.

"We want to give you the info about yourself, so you can manage your own care and be responsible for staying as healthy as possible, because you know what you need to do," Gingrich said.