April 13, 2007 10:31AM

Santa Newt

On Wednesday, David Boaz blogged about how Newt Gingrich is dispelling the notion that he is a small‐​government, Reaganesque conservative. That very day, Gingrich offered even more evidence that he is no fan of limited government.

In an op‐​ed for The Washington Times, Gingrich urged Congress to limit the ability of insurers to use genetic information when setting insurance premiums, calling that proposed price control a “gift” to the American people:

Protecting every American from genetic discrimination is a long overdue gift to the nation. After 12 years of debate, Congress is at last poised to deliver this gift.

Gingrich makes it sound like Congress can play Santa Claus, pulling a big, shiny windfall out of his sack. Of course, like all subsidies, this one would be a gift to some people at the expense of others. That is, it would reduce the premiums of those genetically predisposed to certain diseases by increasing premiums for those without such genetic markers. 

And what types of genetic discrimination would Gingrich like to prohibit? Just DNA testing? What about the genetic information adduced by questions like, “Does your family have a history of cancer?” The broader the definition of prohibited genetic information, the more we will drive good risks out of the health insurance market.

Are there no big‐​government politicians brave enough to propose explicit — rather than hidden — health care subsidies?