What's behind Shumlin cop-out?

January 11, 2015

Rutland Herald: I have questions about Governor Shumlin’s cessation of single-payer health care for Vermont.

— Was there a coalition of conservative Democratic and Republican legislators who threatened to vote for the Republican gubernatorial candidate if Shumlin carried out his plan for Act 48?

— Why the failure in gaining the promised federal funding? After three and a half years since the passage of Act 48, can we believe that the federal funding was not certain?

— To what degree have the business community, the insurance companies, and the health care corporations been instrumental in the disruption of Act 48?

— Is it reasonable that Vermont could not find a workable model for universal health care among the nations where it is successful?

Are Vermonters willing to allow those becoming rich from our health care to continue to trump the public good? Compared to 10 Western nations, the United States has the least effective and most expensive health care system. The annual per-capita cost in the United States is greater than each of the countries in comparison: Australia, France, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Norway. The U.K. ranked first overall in health care, but the 2013 per capita cost for the United Kingdom was $3,405; the cost for the eleventh-ranked U.S. was $8,508. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2014/06/16/u-s-healthcare-ranked-dead-last-compared-to-10-other-countries/)

This is the free market at work: What is good for business is bad for the people, and what is good for the people is at odds with the interests of the wealthy. Vermont can lead the nation in reforming health care by taking our health out of the hands of corporate interests and taking over our own health care system. We deserve no less, and we must, together, require this reform from our Vermont state government.