Shumlin Getting Criticized From Both Sides for Lack of a Finance Plan

by Robert Maynard

Vermonters for Health Care Freedom has released a detailed report claiming that the University of Massachusetts Medical School had already  studied payroll and income taxes to pay for Green Mountain Care as part of the $300,000 contract they signed in July of 2012 with the Shumlin Administration.  Republican House leader Don Turner had joined in the call for the Administration to come clean on why such details were not released when the UMass Report was.  On its part, the Administration has been trying to paint such demands as partisan attacks.  It is getting harder to do that with calls for full disclosure coming from the left as well.  The latest to make such demands of the Administration is Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, as pointed out in this Vermont Digger article:

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility officials say the Shumlin administration’s decision to delay the tax plan for a publicly financed health care system is creating uncertainty for businesses and has led to the spread of misinformation.

Dan Barlow, a lobbyist for VBSR, a statewide business trade organization that advances economic, social and environmental business ethics, says members of his group are concerned that the administration won’t provide funding details this legislative session. Other local business groups, including the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, have also been critical about the lack of information regarding potential tax increases associated with the first-in-the-nation single-payer initiative.

The supporters of Vermont’s single payer plan have a good reason to be alarmed.  Vermont has put forward a plan twice before for such a health care reform scheme and twice it failed to make it through the political process when the numbers did not add up.  The numbers are not looking any better this time and Shumlin is a wily and slick politician.  If he cannot find a way to pull a rabbit out of his hat, or a lot more in federal support than we are expecting, he is likely to drop this like a hot potato the same way Howard Dean did.  Shumlin is no more likely than Dean was to stick with a political loser and that is just what this will be when and if the numbers are ever made public.  There has been a desperate push to speed up the implementation of the law while, at the same time, delay disclosure on how to pay for it.  It looks like the plan is to push it through far enough so that there will be no other alternative left by the time the public is made aware of the price tag.