November 13, 2014
By Walter Carpenter
I would like to respond to the "My View" commentary "Green Mountain Care and Medicare" (The Valley Reporter, 10/30/14) by Gene Bifano. Unfortunately, it is difficult within the brief span of a letter to call all the bluffs this piece makes in order to attempt to deliver its true intent: spreading fear.
A certain hypocrisy should not be lost here. This commentary is defending one publicly funded, single-payer system to hopefully knock down another. By trying to frighten senior citizens in Vermont into believing that they will lose their Medicare (Medicare is true single-payer health care) to Green Mountain Care, the commentary twists the facts into their own fiction to hopefully use them as fear tactics to deny non-senior citizens in Vermont the same type of program. Medicare is a federal program. States cannot touch it. They can work in partnership with it, as Green Mountain Care no doubt will do, in supplemental situations and at less cost than senior citizens must now pay to private health insurance companies for the same. States cannot supplant Medicare. I am sure that the author knows this excessively well.
The commentary stated that nine centuries after a humiliated King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, "We have become serfs of Vermont." I am interested about his definition of serfdom. Apparently, being held hostage by ballooning health insurance premiums, property taxes and rents constantly ascending to meet them for things like schools and towns and so on is not serfdom. These premiums are extracted by Wall Street for stratospheric profits and CEO salaries; they do not particularly enhance our health care or access to it. As someone who nearly died because of our reliance on private health insurance and was chained to years of medical debt to it, I know what this kind of serfdom means.
Green Mountain Care will bring health care back to the people of Vermont.
Walter Carpenter lives in Montpelier.
Walter Carpenter is a health care reform advocate, works in the Mad River Valley during the winter, bicycles in The Valley during the summer and fall and is a member of the Green Mountain Care Board's advisory committee.