Not a big surprise

August 01, 2012

Times Argus

Jeff Wennberg’s perspective piece “Who’s Outsmarting Whom” in the July 22 edition of The Times Argus takes innuendo and tries to twist them into facts to promote fear.

Mr. Wennberg, who is the executive director of the group opposed to single-payer, Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, wrote that the costs of the single-payer system (the key word here is system. We do not now have a system of health care) “should have been the first question asked and answered before the Legislature enacted the single-payer law.” This is a strange statement. It would have been crazier to figure out how much this system would cost before we knew what the system consists of and how it is going to work. A contractor does not bid on a job by figuring the costs before knowing what the job entails. The Shumlin administration should be commended for planning as thoroughly as is humanely possible, guided by public input all along the way, what this system will before how much it will cost.

Mr.Wennberg stated that the Shumlin administration has “expended and applied for $120 million in federal grants hire staff, consultants and computer systems to implement the plan (single-payer). This is incorrect. As Peter Sterling, the executive director of Vermont Leads, an advocacy group for single-payer, said, “The facts are that the administration has received planning grants from the federal government to implement the federally mandated Health Care Exchange. None of these federal dollars are being used for the planning of Green Mountain Care, Vermont’s single-payer system.”

The health care exchange is private health insurance. The federal dollars (and any state can apply for them) is to help set up this exchange. I am surprised that Mr. Wennberg does not support this.

Walter Carpenter
Montpelier