by Rob Roper
The healthcare reform bill passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Shumlin calls for the formation of a very special five member panel of five “really smart” people who will make virtually every decision regarding healthcare in Vermont.
How our state will control healthcare costs, increase the number of Vermonters with access to care, and do so without degrading the level of care, we’ve been told by the legislature and the governor that we don’t need to know. Others will figure it out.
But first those others must be chosen, and the Green Mountain Care Board Nominating committee met for the first time to start that process. You didn’t know that? Of course you didn’t. The meeting wasn’t warned.
Vermont Republican Party chairwoman, Pat McDonald reacted to the failure, “While Governor Peter Shumlin talks about the importance of transparency it’s actions like these by his administration that will keep Vermonters wondering about how decisions are being made. A board created by the legislature and empowered to make decisions that will fundamentally dismantle our health care system as we know it, should not be held without any warning.”
There is already a significant lack of trust that exists surrounding this healthcare effort due to its proponents refusal to answer the public’s question about how it will be paid for, who will pay for it, what the benefits package will look like, etc. Forgetting to honor the public’s right to participate in this process by ignoring Vermont’s open meeting laws is not a good first step along this road.