Scare tactics on health reform

April 28, 2012

Burlington Free Press

I found Jeff Wennberg’s letter on April 3 “Single-payer is not the only option” interesting. Considering that he’s executive director of the Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, I expected to hear some solutions about how they would serve the health care need of all Vermonters, especially the uninsured and underinsured. None was forthcoming.

Instead Wennberg tried to use scare tactics to support his stand. His points were weak and he left plenty of wiggle room. For example: he states that “the Green Mountain Care plan will probably degrade access to care for nearly all Vermonters.” Then he noted, “... plans being developed in every other state — will probably result in more Vermonters going uninsured.” Probably? Wennberg also noted that the Vermont NEA has decided to “keep what they have” insurance-wise. Completely wrong.

VT-NEA president Martha Allen just wrote in an op-ed last month, “To pressure the Legislature to revise portions of this year’s Exchange bill, pronouncements were made implying that a ‘back-room’ deal was cut to allow school districts’ insurance plans to be ‘grandfathered’ out of the Exchange. This is utterly false.

“What makes this baseless charge more odious is the implication that Vermont-NEA and its members are trying to undermine health care reform. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our union was one of the main supporters of the law that, among other things, created Catamount Health and expanded access to Medicaid and VHAP. As a result, almost 40,000 more Vermonters are now enrolled in an affordable public health care program. Vermont-NEA supports the creation of a robust and viable health care Exchange.”

By the way, the VT-NEA represents 9,200 public school teachers and education workers.

So, before stating another series of claims, Wenn-
berg and his Vermonters for Health Care Freedom group need to do some research. When they come up with some real solutions to the health care challenge, I’m sure that the Legislature and the health care board will welcome their input.