I was surprised to read that Jeff Wennberg, executive director of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, is encouraging readers to follow the money (April 29).
The money Wennberg is referring to is federal money potentially available to Vermont to support the reform effort. He points out that the legislatureís actions have worked to maximize this federal support. Last time I checked most every state government tries to maximize federal support for health care, disaster relief, transportation projects, etc. I want to personally thank those on the health committee for doing just that, and will support all their efforts to control health care costs both by improving the efficiency of our health care system, and Ö yes Ö by maximizing external funding ó whether itís money for community health centers, for military health, or for our reform effort.
But back to Wennbergís advice that we follow the money. In the spirit of that plea, I call upon Jeff to allow Vermonters to do just that: Tell us who is funding VHCF.
Vermonters for Health Care Freedom burst onto the scene barely a year ago, yet by January of this year, VCHF was swimming in so much money that they were able to carpet bomb the media with an expensive barrage of deceptive radio and TV ads designed to undermine public support for Vermontís health reform effort. Where did all that money come from?
VHCF uses every conceivable angle to snipe at any and every element of Vermontís health reform effort, while it has put forth no alternative proposal of its own to solve the twin crises of our health care system: out of control costs and inadequate access (high deductible plans, caps, etc).
The status quo of health care in the United States is bad for family budgets, bad for the public health, wasteful and unaffordable for business, and it is the primary cause of the strain on the budgets of our local, state and federal governments.
But the status quo isnít harming everyone. Things are great for the health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry.
Theyíre making billions in profit off our health care system just as it is, and have good reason to believe that single payer reform will not be good for their bottom line.
In light of the amount of money VHCF has available for its disinformation campaign, I have to assume itís coming from the big corporations that are profiting from the status quo. When will we find out? We want to follow the money.
Marvin Malek is a physician who practices internal medicine at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin.
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