Sen. Joe Benning takes a page from the national party playbook on opposing Obamacare when he criticizes Vermont’s present work on universal, affordable and accessible health care.
First, he sows seeds of doubt about the finances involved. Next, he spreads fear about the lack of infrastructure development. Then he calls for definite dollar amounts. He goes on to throw in a distraction — an alternative financing bill to be introduced. He proceeds to question the pace of the work to be done and concludes by saying we should do something altogether different. This is not how change for the better is accomplished, and I wish he’d act more like a Vermont Republican and work for the good of all Vermonters.
The facts are these: As for finances, the taxes needed to pay for single-payer in Vermont will be right around one-third of the present total annual cost for health care, because the rest of the funds come from other sources such as federal programs. The taxes will replace, I repeat, replace the costs of the present system, so in general there will be no “competition” with other funding. This has been computed by the 2001 Lewin, 2006 Thorpe, 2011 Hsiao and 2013 UMass Vermont single-payer studies, hardly weak reeds to lean on.
Second, Gov. Shumlin has already put in place skilled people — Anya Rader Wallack and Michael Costa — to pull together the pieces.
Third, the Legislature will indeed be dealing with this in very great detail for the next three sessions — you may trust the Democrats and Progressives to see to that.
Fourth, the national Republican Party’s alternative to Obamacare will be just as useless as an alternative for Vermont, since it is at this time a blank piece of paper. While Sen. Benning might recite that party’s chapter and verse on universal health care, he really should come up with an alternative better than theirs.
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