by Robert Maynard
In Vermont’s rush to be the first state in the nation to enact a single payer health care system, a lot of questions are being left unanswered. According to a recent WCAX-TV article, business leaders have questions regarding choice of what is covered:
“Well, I think it’s the fear of the unknown,” said Lon Finkelstein of the Vermont Tent Company.
Finkelstein says under the current system his employees have a choice between two health insurance policies.”
There are also questions about how the proposed reform will be financed that even members of the Shumlin Administration are acknowledging:
“On the financing we’re being honest about it- we need to spend more time,” said Anya Rader Wallack, the special assistant to the governor for health reform.
So, if even members of the Shumlin Administration are admitting that “we need to spend more time”, why the rush to pass something that has raised more questions than it has proposed solutions?
If this was only a matter of doing what is in the best interest of Vermonters, the sensible thing would be to wait for some answers to these questions before ramming this through. The problem is that this is not just about responding to the needs of Vermonters. There is a large and well-funded national movement called the Universal Health Care Action Network behind Vermont’s push for a single payer system that gives new meaning to the term “Astroturf”. The concern is more about using Vermont as “a springboard” to push for the movement’s idea of what reform should look like:
“Vermont is leading the way to universal health care using national reform as a springboard and based on a single payer system.If one state can make real progress on comprehensive health reform, that will help all of us no matter where we are in the struggle in our own states!”
The list of coalition partners that they have put together is fairly substantial and represents a LOT of resources that can be utilized to push this proposed reform through hastily without stopping to answer the questions that Vermonters have. The group has even sent out a fundraising letter to state groups from all over the country to raise money to buy advertisements aimed at pushing the proposed single payer reform through.
As big as that coalition is, it is not the only effort pushing for a single payer healthcare system. There is another group called “Health Care For America Now“. This group may be even bigger than the UHCN. Here is how their website describes them:
“Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is a national grassroots campaign of more than 1,000 organizations in 46 states representing 30 million people dedicated to winning quality, affordable health care we all can count on in 2010 and beyond. Our organization and principles are supported by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and more than 190 Members of Congress.”
In 2009 the group received $5 Million in support form George Soros. The same year they did a study on the problems with Vermont’s insurance market, which they used as an excuse to push for single payer. What the study does not say is that it was reforms proposed by Vermont’s political leadership, which resulted in yet more government interference in the private insurance industry market that ruined the market.
The fact that HCAN’s study does not take into account the impact of previous reform efforts that increased government involvement in the market raises questions on the validity and motivation of that study. Such questions are amplified when one considers that the proposed remedy is even more government intervention in the healthcare market.
Given all the resources that are being marshaled to hastily push this effort through, is it any wonder that the effort for reform of Vermont’s healthcare system is not taking time to stop and seek answers to the questions raised by a growing number of Vermonters?