Decoding McLaughry

June 14, 2012

Times Argus

John McClaughry’s June 11 letter “Decoding the language of Green Mountain Care” is vintage McClaughry. The Shumlin administration’s Green Mountain Care represents, for McClaughry, a perfect storm battering his libertarian ideals.

McClaughry considers the GMC board’s use of language misleading and opaque, but McClaughry’s own writing could do with some decoding. He claims that the Shumlin administration has proceeded at “flank speed” (a nautical war term) to create Green Mountain Care. Yes, Shumlin’s is the first administration to enact a law that may lead to single payer, but the administration is hardly moving with lethal haste. Rather, Green Mountain Care is the culmination of more than 20 years of slow, hard work by citizen advocates and legislators statewide.

In McClaughry’s language, the new system’s funding will be “taken” from Vermont residents via taxes, suggesting that taxation is government theft. On the contrary, in countries where the health and welfare of citizens is considered government’s moral imperative, taxes are seen as the dues we pay to live in a civil society where essential services are provided.

McClaughry claims the term “single payer” is often avoided by advocates because of its association with Quebec’s supposedly broken medicare system. The Green Mountain Care board has made clear that it has studied Quebec and intends to create a different system unique to Vermont.

McClaughry questions the board’s notion of “choice,” suggesting that the board will be controlling the medical choices of doctors and patients. Actually, the Green Mountain Care board determines how medical care will be paid for, not how it will be practiced.

Finally, McClaughry challenges the board to explain the new system “candidly” and “in plain language.” This is precisely what the board has been doing over the past year at its well-publicized and well-attended hearings and information sessions around the state.

Mimi Morton