No answers on health care this year… OR next year!

by Rob Roper

All through this legislative session Vermonters have been begging our senators and representatives for answers to basic questions about the single payer health care plan. How much will it cost? How will it be paid for? Who will pay for it? What will the benefits package look like? Will it drive jobs and doctors out of the state? For five months we have received no answers from.

Don’t look for this to change any time soon.

The House and Senate have both passed the final version of the Single Payer Health Care bill, H.202, and sent it to Governor Shumlin for his signature. The roll call votes (House, Senate) broke down roughly along party lines. None of the 48 Republican house members voted for the bill. They were joined by a handful of Democrats in the 94-49 vote. In the Senate the vote was 21-9. Two Democrats (Starr and Mazza) joined seven of the eight Republicans in opposing the legislation. One Republican, Kevin Mullin of Rutland, joined twenty Democrats in voting for it.

According to the new law, information about the what the benefits package will be and how the whole scheme will be paid for won’t be finalized until January the 2013, which means a second entire legislative session, 2012, will pass without answers. From a concerned citizen’s perspective, this is absurd. From a selfish politician’s perspective, it makes perfect sense. January 2013 is AFTER the next election.

If the people who voted for this plan believe it is a good thing that Vermonters will support, one would think they would be eager to run for election on the details of what they’re doing. Clearly, that’s not the case. It makes you think they know something we don’t… and they want to keep it that way.