April 11, 2005


Committee passes single-payer universal health insurance plan (John Zicconi, April 9, 2005, Times Argus)

A House committee comprised largely of Democrats on Friday adopted a health-care reform plan that restructures key parts of state government to lay the groundwork for a publicly financed, universal-care system paid for with taxes.

The plan calls for primary and preventative care coverage for all Vermonters by July 2007, publicly funded hospital coverage by October 2007, and universal coverage for other medical needs no later than July 2009.

The proposal was immediately criticized by physicians, hospital officials and insurance executives because the proposal calls for sweeping changes to Vermont's health-care delivery system without saying how much it would cost or what medical procedures would be covered. [...]

Governor James Douglas, a Republican, did not wait to blast the proposal.

"When Vermonters take a good hard look at what the House Democrats are proposing they're going to want a second opinion," said Douglas, who believes the plan will increase income taxes 134 percent and lead to health-care rationing.

"This plan would dramatically raise taxes and put health care decisions in the hands of politicians and government bureaucrats," said Douglas, "a prospect I fundamentally and unequivocally oppose."

Asked if he would veto the bill if it reached his desk unchanged, Douglas dodged the question but said: "I think I am sending a pretty clear message."

If the national GOP would just pump some money into Vermont they could score some big successes because the political class is so alienated from the citizenry. But they also need Karl Rove to force decent candidates on the state party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2005 1:50 PM

Lotsa Canadian patients at Hitchcock these days, or just at Fletcher in Burlington?

Posted by: ghostcat at April 11, 2005 5:15 PM

I say let a thousand flowers bloom. Where is the downside? Lots of ex-hippies dying in the hallways? Demonstrating the stupidity of government run health care?

Posted by: Rick T. at April 11, 2005 5:19 PM

Both. There are only two CAT scan machines in the country.

Posted by: oj at April 11, 2005 5:19 PM

Anything I could say would so loaded with expletives as to be unprintable.

Posted by: Governor Breck at April 11, 2005 5:33 PM

Have you ever tried to defend the teaching of Latin to someone who never studied Latin? It's usually hopeless. That's the challenge the Governor has when he talks about the horror of bureaucratic decsion-making, which is a much greater threat to health in countries with socialized medicine than the actual quality of the medical care itself. Bureaucracy has all but ruined public education over the last sixty years, but we still prefer to zero in on lazy or greedy teachers and call for more government-enforced supervision and standards. It astounds and depresses me to see how few people can discern what bureaucracy means even when they are enslaved by it. Good luck, guys.

Posted by: Peter B at April 12, 2005 8:53 AM