by Kay Trudell
I am speaking for myself in sending these comments. I am not speaking for any group. I am absolutely opposed to any government takeover of the healthcare system, whether it be by the federal government or an individual state such as Vermont. Yes, this is possibly a states’ rights issue, but just because you might be able to do a thing does not mean that you should do it. This is political payback, pure and simple.
Look at the PROBLEMS Massachusetts is having with its state-run healthcare system. Look at the train wreck “Obamacare” is becoming. These should serve as huge red flags for us here in Vermont. With our rural nature, our current state indebtedness, and our small population, how can we pay for what you are proposing?? This will just bloat our state government more and increase the tax burden on us already-strapped Vermont residents. We are currently among the highest-taxed states in the nation.
And once you put this system in place, I wonder how many jobless people from other states, homeless people from other states, and illegal immigrants will travel to Vermont to hop on the gravy train? Will there be any residency requirements? Proof of U.S. and Vermont citizenship? What happens to Vermont residents who are legal residents here but who spend three or four months in another state such as Florida or Arizona? What if they get sick or have an accident in another state? Have you thought about how you will handle this? What if a Vermont resident becomes ill on a cruise ship or overseas? How will you handle this? My gut feeling as a Vermont native and lifelong resident is that this is nothing but the liberal agenda of the “Healthcare is a human right” folks, and it doesn’t really matter what the rest of us think. This will not improve the quality of our healthcare.
Have you really thought this through? There is no Constitutional right to government-provided healthcare in the U.S. Constitution, but there was in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. The government taking over something that has always been part of the private sector never makes it better, cheaper, or more efficient. Instead, we get more layers of bureaucracy, poorer management practices, lower quality care, rationing, increased fraud and waste, increased inefficiency, and a third party inserting himself/herself between the doctor and the patient. Bureaucrats will call the shots and determine the treatment people receive. You cannot legislate a perfect world. That is pure socialist thinking. We had approximately 23 private insurance carriers, lots of competition, and much cheaper premiums twenty-five years or so ago in Vermont. Then the state government in Vermont forced everybody into a community rating pool instead of allowing different rating pools as used to be the case. I remember because I was in one of those pools (the teacher pool).
This socialistic move to make everybody “equal” has turned out badly. We now have only a few insurance carriers left in Vermont. We can’t buy insurance across state lines. State meddling in a really good system has led to ballooning rates and a monopoly. Monopolies are bad. Now the State wants to become the monopoly or designate someone as the monopoly. As far as I am concerned, the state meddling in the Vermont rating system adversely affected a perfectly good system. One might even say state meddling infected a healthy system. Your complete takeover of our state’s healthcare system will also worsen it. Leave it to the private sector. Public healthcare provided by the state should only be for the truly needy, the indigent elderly, or people with disabilities who require help. Leave the rest of us alone. I do like the system of community healthcare satellite clinics provided by the hospitals. They didn’t need a state takeover to do that. Let the private sector help solve any healthcare gaps with the state as an unlegislated partner, perhaps, but a state-run system will lead to all kinds of unintended consequences. It always does.
Change the rating system back. Allow us to buy private insurance across state lines (yes, I know that probably needs federal legislation, but our Vermont Congressional delegation has enough clout that they could introduce that type of bill). And where’s the tort reform? You will never control costs without tort reform. You will only be able to do it by rationing. Perhaps that’s why our new governor wants to legalize doctor-directed, physician-assisted suicide. To propose this along with a single-payer system is too obvious.
As a lifelong Vermont resident in the proud tradition of Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, I treasure independence. I say government should help the private sector out in a non-invasive way, then get out of the way. State oversight should be there to police really egregious violations, but in general a state takeover is very undesirable. One more point: when the state helped to worsen the really good healthcare/insurance/multiple-rating-pool system we had in Vermont several decades ago, before that was changed, either (1) the state had no idea of the consequences of their actions decades down the road; or (2) It was done deliberately to achieve the very end you knew would arrive a few decades hence, thus paving the way for a state takeover.
You would weaken the private system so we could all be herded into a more state-controlled system. Well, which was it? Incompetence or calculation? What was done several decades ago absolutely did not make the system better, as all the criticism of the current system and calls to change it plainly demonstrate. My position on this issue is no, no, no. I am a party of one of NO. And the next time I hear Bernie propagandizing us about how wonderful the Cuban healthcare system is under Castro, and how we should emulate them, I really will need healthcare because those statements make me positively ill.