Governor was myopic about health care

January 15, 2015

The Caledonian Record.

To the Editor:
Your editorial, "Yeah, Right," (1/6) is spot on for identifying Gov. Shumlin's campaign tactic, but misfires on his policy error: The reason he has deferred his decades-long push for health care reform (he committed to it first in 1994) was that he did not look far enough afield.
He missed the fact that one out of every six holders of the best for-profit health insurance policies in Vermont pays over $5,000 yearly in out-of-pocket expenses. They were among the 69% of Vermonters who paid over half a billion dollars. And one out of every six Vermonters reported being pursued by a collection agency for medical debt. It is Shumlin's fault that he did not realize how strong a base there is for health care reform. He also never considered a "flexible" payroll tax. While no Mom and Pop store in Vermont can afford a 14% employer's share, a flexible tax could ensure full coverage for all employees for an unbelievably small sum, while employers like Wal-Mart would have their 1,400 Vermont workers covered for the equivalent of five days of their CEO's pay.
However, when it comes to taxation, states are like the debutante who believes her boyfriend is the only man in the world and will leave her if she doesn't prostitute herself for him.
Chuck Gregory
Springfield, Vt.