I try to stay informed politically, though I prefer not to get political in my writing, lest I lose my objectivity.

A recent development may cause me to reconsider.

I have watched with great interest the apparent transformation of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich from bombastic leader of the 1994 Republican Revolution and unabashed foe of all things government-centric and all things Clinton into the Newt for the New Millennium, champion of a partially government-funded national health information technology infrastructure and yes, supporter of ideas advanced by Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Just last week, Gingrich and his Washington-based Center for Health Transformation kicked off their latest project, dubbed the Interoperable Health Information Technology Initiative.

The Center for Health Transformation will expound on its ideas Tuesday at a forum it is hosting at the tony Willard InterContinental Hotel, kitty-corner from the White House.

Among the very lofty goals of this initiative is to assure that the benchmark physicals that will begin in January 2005 for all new Medicare enrollees will be electronic. Every last one of them. Starting seven months from now.

In case anyone had forgotten, Medicare is a federally funded program. The slow pace of change in the federal government notwithstanding, didn’t Gingrich used to be the loudest drum-beater for small government when he swept to power a decade ago?

Am I the only one who is incredulous at the fact that Gingrich put his proposal out the very same week they buried his ideological godfather, Ronald Reagan?

Newt always did have impeccable timing.

Note: Check this space later this week for updates from the annual AMA House of Delegates and the National Alliance for Health Information Technology meetings, both here in Chicago.