Rep. Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington, isn’t satisfied with Gov. Peter Shumlin’s decision to delay the presentation of financing options for single-payer to lawmakers before the end of the legislative session.
Browning sent a public records request to Shumlin’s health care financing expert asking to see the work he’s completed thus far on tax options to pay for Green Mountain Care, Vermont’s planned universal health care program.
A fundamental premise of Green Mountain Care is to decouple health insurance from employment by paying for it with taxes instead of premiums.
“It is past time that this administration was asked to stand and deliver,” said Browning in an email release.
“If the complete financing scenario, or scenarios, are not fully developed, the draft plans and other materials that have been generated thus far should be shared with the Legislature and all Vermonters,” she added.
Political convenience is no excuse for the delay, Browning said, noting that Shumlin was statutorily required to present a financing plan in January 2013.
It’s not just Republicans that are frustrated with Shumlin for not producing a financing plan, she said. There are Democrats who support single-payer, but want to know how the administration plans to pay for it.
Browning said she isn’t sure if the administration will comply with her request, but in her email she writes, “Such a refusal will simply increase the seriousness of this failure to obey the law and to abide by principles of transparency and accountability.”
If the administration doesn’t turn over what is known as a “work product,” then she said she’s prepared to take further action. Browning said she would consider calling on the House to seek a legislative subpoena of the documents she’s called for. She acknowledged that subpoena is unlikely without the support of Democratic leadership.
By not releasing his administration’s work on a financing plan, Shumlin is in violation of the law, she said.
It’s disappointing, in her view, that members of his own party won’t publicly ask that he be held to account.