As the Vermont Legislature works down to the wire on its budget, I want to congratulate our Democratic and Progressive House members who, working together, have put a positive budget out that should make all Vermonters proud. Yes, there is a push and pull nationally on economic issues during this prolonged downturn. I am so proud of Gov. Shumlinís efforts to work toward a single-payer health care system for all those who are not covered by either Medicare and VA benefits, which are in themselves single-payer plans.
However, it seems very questionable whether the money will be there to pay for the projected exchange rates, which seem at this point to be much higher than both Catamount and VHAP have been in the past few years. We do not need or want to have more people uninsured during this critical interim period prior to 2017 when we have been promised the opportunity to make a truly drastic change in how health care is delivered and paid for in Vermont.
Unlike John McClaughry and other conservatives who just canít wait for this whole change to fail, I am a strong supporter of universal, single-payer health care and, like most low- and moderate-income Vermonters, would like to see health care for all as a basic human right, regardless of income.
This is why it is imperative to get it right the first time. My hope is that the state Senate does not let us down and that Gov. Shumlin will back his Democratic cohorts in the lower chamber.
Yes, upper-income Vermonters need to pay their fair share as well as low-income Vermonters who are hit by some of the proposed raised sales and gas tax. However, I really donít know many folks who buy single items of clothing that cost over $100 unless they are very well heeled. We all must share the burden as we work toward a more perfect state union.
And as for a mass exodus of upper-income taxpayers, I doubt very much whether they will be forced to leave their megamansions and winter playgrounds for other greener pastures. The last time I looked, there are not too many of those left in our country or around the world.
Mary Alice Bisbee
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