by Robert Maynard
Once again the topic of money in politics is causing concern in some corners of the state and once again it bewilders me why so much concern is being expressed now when hardly a peep was heard when far more money was being spent to support the cause of pushing single payer health care reform. Vermont Digger has an article on the current fretting over money in politics:
Three lightning rod topics this legislative session – death with dignity, wind energy, and a tax on sugary beverages – have dominated the advertising airwaves, in an attempt to sway the minds of constituents and lawmakers alike.
Mike Fisher, chair of the House Health Care Committee, which backs the new tax, told Hirschfeld that he’d like to know how much both sides spent on advertising so far this legislative session.
Fisher called for new legislation to require that interest groups who advertise disclose spending details within 24 hours, rather than three times a year, as is currently the law. Any advertising on legislative topics done between Jan. 1 and March 31 is now only reported in late April.
Again, I did not see the same level of concern when outside money was flowing into the state to back the push for single payer. This is a subject that True North Reports covered back in March of 2011:
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”. Their 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.
I might be able to take the current fretting over money in politics more seriously if it was not so selective.