Worth the fight

January 01, 2015

Times Argus: 

Rep. Don Turner’s op-ed, “Single Payer Already Took its Toll,” misses many key points about Vermont’s march toward single payer. This is most likely on purpose.

One of these is when Turner dubbed our attempts at single payer “ideological experiment” and “egregious waste of taxpayer dollars and the administration’s human capital.” It is not ideological, but pragmatic. It also accomplished two more firsts on the notch of firsts for Vermont. One is the Green Mountain Care Board. Among the GMCB’s accomplishments to date is its starting to tame our health care non-system’s rapacious appetite for rising costs. Is this a waste in Turner’s view?

While I wonder what Turner’s “robust and voluntary insurance market is,” long experience has proved that it never has, and never will, control costs or provide affordable access to all because it treats health care as consumerism for profit.

This second achievement is moral. The long fight has at last shifted the idea of health care as a consumer product to its being a public good. This is a brand new concept for America, though well known in every other democratic nation — all of which have single-payer type systems.

These two things alone have been worth the fight.

Turner stated that our experience with single payer so far has shown the dangers of one party having “large majorities in both chambers of the Legislature.” Does this include his own party as well? Would he say the same about the “large majorities in both chambers” his party (Republicans) enjoyed for 108 years? I doubt it.

The Democrats/Progressives have these majorities because the voters wanted it this way.

I hope Turner respects this fact. I wonder.

Walter Carpenter

Montpelier