Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Edward Kentish, a licensed acupuncturist with offices in Montpelier and Hardwick.
ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, generally serves up fairly standard Republican fare: “Stand Your Ground” gun laws, controversial voter ID laws, and of course in opposition to Obamacare, ALEC’s “Healthcare Freedom Initiative.”
What’s cooking in Vermont? Here ALEC’s Vermont chairman, Republican Sen. Kevin Mullin, introduced S.199, a bill seeking to end the “philosophical exemption” in the childhood vaccine laws. A Republican introducing a health care bill, one that removes a parent’s rights, one that obliges all children to participate in a health care plan. … An ugly duckling if ever there was one! Just doesn’t look like all the rest.
The duckling looks even uglier in the light of Vermont’s exemplary health statistics. We rank right up there on general health, low incidence of infectious diseases, and low child mortality. What’s the problem, what motivates such a bill? Well, several corporations have recently publicly cut their ties with ALEC over ALEC’s Stand Your Ground gun laws, underscoring the reality that ALEC is funded by corporations, and we may guess has their interests at heart more than your child’s well being.
If we were to look at S.199 as a business bill, we would see a swan in all its grace and majesty. When Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act it immunized big pharma against lawsuits due to death and damage from vaccines. The industry went from going broke due to lawsuits to a bunch of pigs at the trough. The NCVIP has paid out over $2 billion for vaccine injuries and deaths, saving big pharma at least that much, and at the same time the vaccine schedule for children has increased phenomenally. Small change in the 1980s, big money today. No child should be left out of this!
That the Vermont Legislature has handled this as a health care bill is embarrassing, that it has been debated as health care is a little ridiculous, but the fact that the bill is having trouble is Vermont at its best.