VT GOP Leaders Weigh In On Shumlin Appointees

by Angela Chagnon

While the appointments of Ayer, Larson, Richter, and others who have worked on the single payer issue are not surprising, the inclusion of Strong and Mullin gives Republicans cautious optimism that there may be some balance to the GMC Board.

“This process does provide some hope for bi-partisan nominations,” says Pat McDonald, chair of the Vermont Republican Party. “But the jury is still out until we see how balanced the names are that will be forwarded to the governor.

Of course it is hard to get excited about any names when the purpose of the bill is to go to a government run health care system,” McDonald commented.

House Minority Leader Don Turner (R-Milton) says he is “skeptical about the future of Green Mountain Care and its impact on our state and Vermonters in general.”

However, he is pleased that Torti, Strong and Mullen are among the appointees.

“I am hopeful that these three people will bring a different, unbiased and more critical perspective to the process,” Turner remarked. “These nominees will control twenty percent of Vermont’s economy and more importantly the health of your family members and mine.”

McDonald said it was “hard to tell from the brief bios” given by the Governor’s office in the press release “whether these individuals have the collective expertise to assess the qualifications of individual candidates using the subjective criteria” in H.202 for members of the GMC Board.

She is also wary of Shumlin’s choice of Deb Richter.

“In addition, I would challenge the decision to include Dr. Deborah Richter on the nominating committee,” she says. “Dr. Richter is a registered lobbyist who is actively working on pursuing a single payer system in Vermont.”

It will be interesting to see the five GMC Health Care Board members the nominating committee comes up with. In the words of Rep. Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington):

“From what I can tell, these five people are not only going to need to know a great deal about the health industry, but also have the combined wit and wisdom of Solomon, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Judge Judy.