Laughed off the stage

November 13, 2014

The Valley Reporter

By Chuck Gregory

Gene Bifano's piece (Green Mountain Care and Medicare, 11/6/14) is being laughed off the stage by us seniors. Anybody who believes AARP is better than socialism does not know AARP. Rather than fight to protect us against the destruction of Medicare, it supported the Republicans' attempt in 2003 to deny the government the power to negotiate the prices of medications in its Medicare Part D legislation. As a $1 billion-a-year business, with $600 million coming from brokering insurance policies to us seniors, AARP supported the bill and now makes even more millions brokering policies that provide "doughnut hole" insurance to its betrayed membership, while Medicare's obligation to pay exorbitant prices to the drug companies will lead to its eventual collapse.

Bifano's claim about AARP is horribly erroneous, but his claim that Green Mountain Care will "take over" Medicare is quite simply false. He disregards that Governor Shumlin himself has said that Medicare is set up on a grid encompassing all the New England states; Vermont can't be separated out. Bifano is either ignorant of or maliciously conceals the distinction between Vermont Health Connect (which is our version of Obamacare) and Green Mountain Care (a single-payer plan which would be like a Medicare for all). Furthermore, he is apparently unaware that the state government already successfully administers for its employees a health insurance program so superior to the private sector's that it has actually reduced premiums in recent years.

Mr. Bifano flings "fud" – fear, uncertainty and doubt – in an attempt to prevent Vermonters from creating for themselves and their families affordable, accessible and comprehensive health care which will stay with them in good times and bad, unlike most health insurance plans.

Chuck Gregory lives in Springfield, Vermont