Governor Shumlin discusses Single Payer with AARP

By Robert Maynard and Alex Darr

On March 11th, Governor Shumlin met with Robert Romasco, the President of AARP to discuss the Single Payer System planned for the 2015-16 session, when the funding mechanisms are in place.  True North Reports was there with a video camera to film that discussion:

At the very beginning of the clip, Governor Shumlin gives an interesting look at the progressive mindset when he admitted that they he does not have the perfect solution for health care, but assured us that he had the perfect team working on it.  This is consistent with the progressive insistence that all social problems can be solved if you just get the right cadre of enlightened experts to “socially engineer” a solution.  We are not to question the proposed solutions, but the merely trust in the competence of the enlightened social engineers.  In order for this to work, we need to give up on the supposedly antiquated notions of limited government laid out in our constitution.  Instead, we are to centralize political power in the hands of our enlightened social engineers and trust that they will find a solution.  Popular sovereignty and self government are messy notions that leave no one in charge.

This mindset was also on display on Wednesday April 27th 2011 when  the Democratic Committee of Burlington held a forum on the proposed healthcare reform legislation being rushed through our political process. True North Reports covered the forum and provided videos to go with the commentary.

If one keeps the progressive mindset in mind, one of the critiques of our current healthcare system given in the videos from the True North story should set off a few alarm bells. In part one where the speakers are laying out the case for the reform proposal, at least twice there was a reference to the fact that no one is in control of the current system. One reference was made by Dr. Deb Righter, who is a long time advocate for a single payer system. The other reference was made by then State Representative Mark Larson, who was the Chair of the Healthcare Committee. Representative Larson characterized the current system as fragmented and complex with no one in charge. In part two, where the speakers are answering questions from the audience written on post cards, the matter of the accountability of the five-panel board empowered to design the system was brought up. The response was that it was important that the board be free of political pressures.

What are the implications here? First of all there is the fact that they see a problem with no one being in charge. The reality here is that there is someone in charge. Each person is in charge of making their own decisions, or at least they would be if we had a true free market based system. So the real problem for them is that a select few are not in charge with the power to impose upon society their notions of how the system should work. Second is the importance in their minds that those making the decisions not be subject to political pressures. They are to make their decisions based on their own rational judgment, rather than be swayed by the irrational impulses of the masses. What most of us see as accountability and the “consent of the governed,” they see as political pressure likely to corrupt the decision process of the few experts to be put in charge.

The problem is that the enlightened social engineers have been trying to engineer a government takeover of our healthcare system for over two decades.  Here is a short look at their track record.  (This is from the Green Mountain Patriots health care reform brochure)

Community Rating and Guaranteed Issue – Strike One

In 1991-92 the legislature enforced “community rating” (no adjustment of premiums for age or condition) and “guaranteed issue”(you can wait until you get sick to buyinsurance). These “reforms” saved Blue Cross from insolvency by driving all other competitors out of the state, but it wrecked Vermont’s insurance market.

VHAP – Strike Two

When Gov. Dean’s dream of a government run system collapsed in the 1994 legislature, he got it to create the Vermont Health Assistance Plan(VHAP). This enrolled thousands of people in expanded Medicaid – but the government couldn’t adequately pay the providers who served Medicaid patients. Their losses were shifted to private insurance payers – making private insurance that much more expensive.

Catamount Health – Strike Three

In 2006, after Gov. Douglas’ veto of a bill to impose universal taxes for universal coverage, the government acted to expand coverage for 12,000 of the uninsured through “Catamount Health”.  Gov. Shumlin now wants to scrap Catamount Health because it pays providers more than Medicaid (but still below costs), and the Medicaid budget is in crisis.

Usually, after three strikes you are out. So why are those who are pushing for more government intervention still at bat?