by Randy Brock
Today’s Supreme Court decision only postpones the day of reckoning for Governor Shumlin’s TitanicCare health care law. Federal dollars can now temporarily plug the huge holes the Governor’s plan will generate in Vermont’s budget. Let’s be frank about this: TitanicCare is doomed to sink and take all of us with it. It’s just going to sink a teeny bit slower with this subsidy and nobody, not even Governor Shumlin, believes the subsidy will last forever. The Federal government’s long term track record in keeping its funding promises is dismal indeed – look at Medicaid and Special Education, for example. Vermonters better start asking the Governor and his allies in the legislature to explain before this upcoming election how they’re going to rescue us passengers.
Thankfully, all is not lost when TitanicCare sinks. We Vermonters can start asking our political candidates and the news media to look much more closely at much better options. Why can’t we choose from lots of different policies offered by many different insurance companies from other states? A “single payer” one-size-fits-all is not a “choice”! And why are we forced to purchase insurance policies with mandated coverage for every service and product that health care lobbyists can wangle into our laws? Why can’t we choose the coverage we think suits us instead of what government tells us we need? Why can’t we be creative with high deductible plans and employer-subsidized health savings accounts that give consumers incentives to make cost-conscious decisions? Why can’t we permit lower premiums and/or premium rebates for healthy lifestyles, simplify common administrative procedures, and let coverage follow people regardless of where they work? Let’s reform our medical malpractice laws, too, so our doctors don’t order so many tests out of fear of being sued. There are so many common sense changes we can make that don’t cost anything at all!
If Governor Shumlin is honest, he’ll admit his grandiose TitanicCare plan cannot sail very far for very long. As Vermont’s Governor, I will chart a common sense course toward health care reform that everyone can follow; that controls cost, protects consumers, gets government out of the health care management business, and that lets our free enterprise system provide the kind of incredibly inventive and productive health care solutions it constantly creates in transportation, telecommunication and, yes, medicine.
If you don’t like today’s Supreme Court decision or the direction of health care in Vermont, your recourse now is in November. Today’s decision supremely reinforces the fact that elections count.