by Rob Roper
The decision by the Shumlin Administration and the Democrats in the legislature to push back releasing important financial information about Green Mountain Care until after the 2012 election is a political one. So too, they claim, is the attempt by Republicans to require the Green Mountain Care board to report on exactly how much the $5 billion plus program will cost, how it will be paid for, and what Vermonters benefits will look like in September 2012 rather than January 2013.
With a government takeover of the healthcare industry, Vermonters will have to get used to the fact that all healthcare decisions from here on out will be political, like it or not. Politicians now run the show, even more than they did before, and everything that they do is by definition political. The question here is, what’s good politics and what’s good policy for the people of Vermont?
As a new web ad released by Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom points out, “If the answers [regarding Green Mountain Care] were good, you bet the Governor Shumlin would tell us before we go to the polls in November, so we could make an informed decision.” But he’s not telling, and supporters of a single payer healthcare system are circling the wagons.
Click to see web ad
The sixty-second web ad (which Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom is raising money to put on TV) features a woman talking to camera, urging Vermonters to contact the governor and local legislators to support measures that would release the financial data on Green Mountain Care before November 2012. In addition, Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom launched two radio ads with a similar theme aimed at putting pressure on two members of the House Healthcare Committee, Rep. Paul Poirier (I-Barre) and Mark Woodward (D-Johnson).
The chairman of the House Healthcare Committee, Mike Fisher (D-Lincoln), hopes to pass H.559 – “An act relating to health reform implementation” out of his committee this week. Although the chairman is adamantly opposed to allowing the kind of language Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom is asking for to pass, four of the eleven-member committee have expressed support for pre-November transparency, three Republicans and Rep. George Till, a Democrat and the only practicing physician serving in the legislature. Poirier and Woodward would boost that number to a six-member majority.
In the event that such language passed out of the healthcare committee, it would still have to withstand what would certainly be a spirited fight on the floor of the full house
In a prepared statement, Darcie Johnston, founder of Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom, said, “Funding Green Mountain Care will require the largest tax increases in Vermont history, likely doubling the size of the entire Vermont State budget. Those tax increases will have a profound impact on every Vermont business, every Vermont entrepreneur, and every Vermont family. It’s only fair that Vermonters should have some sense of what those proposed taxes will be before we vote in November 2012.”
In a government run healthcare system, where an un-elected five member board makes all the decisions, elections are be the only meaningful say regular people will have to express a choice regarding healthcare. For some, it’s good politics to take that influence completely away.