Editorial sorely misguided

October 09, 2014

St. Albans Messenger

The editorial, “Vermont’s not so funny rendition of Looney Tunes,” (9/26) ought to have been titled, “We’re not the capable Americans of 1965.” That was the year Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law and gave the government and America’s hospitals one year to create a single-payer system to cover 19 million elderly people.

Washington Post writer Sara Kliff, (“When Medicare launched, nobody had any clue whether it would work,” 5/17/13) reported on the catastrophic rollout, which resulted in the collapse of Medicare and leaves us today with no medical safety net for our elderly. Okay, I’m kidding: With almost none of the computing power we have at present, ninety-three percent were enrolled by the deadline; most of those denied service were African-Americans blatantly and openly discriminated against, despite the President’s stated wishes. Kliff quotes the New York Times (three weeks into the program’s operation), “the Medicare program was reported going smoothly, with difficulties in some areas of the South still the only major problem.”

Vermonters ought to be insulted by the editorial’s implication that we cannot do as good a job on our own version of single payer as our parents and grandparents did with Medicare. Furthermore, the Joint Fiscal Office report on which the the editorial is based deals only with the software technology, which is not crucial to the development of Green Mountain Care. It’s like saying a brand-new car is worthless because it doesn’t have voice recognition technology.

Finally, the criticism of single-payer is of the same ilk as was spewed on Medicare-- “Socialism!” “Unaffordable!” “Unworkable!” But now, fifty years later, try to find a hospital that will stop accepting Medicare. The same will happen with Green Mountain Care.

Chuck Gregory, Springfield