Protesters demand action on single payer, condemn Shumlin’s reversal

A protester burns a medical bill in a demonstration against Gov. Peter Shumlin's decision not to pursue single payer health care in the next legislative session. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Cindy Taylor of Bennington burns a medical bill during a demonstration against Gov. Peter Shumlin’s decision not to pursue single payer health care in the next legislative session. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Protesters from across the state descended on Montpelier Thursday to voice their anger with Gov. Peter Shumlin’s decision to drop his pursuit of single payer health care.

More than 60 people stood in front of the Statehouse chanting slogans and singing protest songs.

“All people, all care, make the rich pay their share,” they shouted, “The system, let’s stop it, our health is not for profit.” And: “Down with Shumlin, up with the people.”

Many shared personal stories of struggles to afford health insurance or medical services, highlighting barriers to care such as high deductibles, copayments and other forms of cost sharing.

Several burned medical bills they said they would never be able to pay off.

Among those was Cindy Taylor, 48, of Bennington, who burned $3,000 in bills from two separate emergency room visits for her daughter that were close to eight years old, she said.

Taylor has had trouble staying covered, and when she is able to enroll in Medicaid for periods of time, it’s difficult to find doctors and dentists willing to accept her as a patient, she said.

Her daughter, now 24, had to drop out of college because of medical debt and is currently uninsured because she can’t afford the premiums on the Vermont Health Connect exchange, Taylor said.

Protesters focused their ire on Shumlin. The governor acknowledged the disappointment of his supporters in remarks Wednesday, but said the economics of single payer wouldn’t allow the program to move forward anytime soon. He called it “the biggest disappointment of my public service so far.”

But protesters were unappeased Thursday, asserting that Shumlin supported single payer while it was politically advantageous, but turned his back on the interests of the working class when he encountered resistance from business leaders.

They marched up to his ceremonial office in the Statehouse to deliver a platter of toast with the message, “Dear Shumlin, your career is toast.”

The protest was organized by the Workers Center, whose director James Haslam, strongly condemned the governor’s reversal on single payer as a betrayal of thousands of his supporters.

A message to the Board

They carried a massive and unflattering cardboard effigy of the governor to Montpelier’s City Center and packed a conference room where the Green Mountain Care Board was holding its weekly meeting.

Protesters demanded that the five board members affirm their commitment to press ahead with universal publicly financed health care, with or without Shumlin’s support.

After some tense moments, the board decided to forego other business and open the meeting for public comment. Many shared their stories with tears in their eyes, and voices that quavered at times.

James Haslam, executive director of the Vermont Workers Center, leaves a platter of toast outside the governor's ceremonial office at the Statehouse on Thursday, A sign directed at Gov. Peter Shumlin reads "Your Career Is Toast.  Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

James Haslam, executive director of the Vermont Workers Center, leaves a platter of toast outside the governor’s ceremonial office at the Statehouse on Thursday, A sign directed at Gov. Peter Shumlin reads “Your Career Is Toast. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

“I make no assumptions of the board up there that they were fortunate enough to have a two-parent household, not live in poverty, not struggle … hopefully that’s what your family looks like, but that’s not what all families look like,” said Shela Linton, of Brattleboro.

“I’m a single parent of two, and like these youth over here I have a 20-year-old who is a sophomore in college. Currently, our health care system that I pay almost $8,000, $9,000 a year, doesn’t afford access to health care for either of us,” she said.

Her insurance doesn’t cover dental care, vision or certain mental health services, she said. The co-pays and deductibles make the insurance unusable in many situations.

“My daughter … has a $1,200 deductible, which means that every time she goes to the doctor it’s out-of-pocket,” Linton said.

Her daughter left college because of student loan debt, and now on top of that she has medical debt that she is unable to pay off, Linton added.

Melissa Davis-Bourque, 35, of St. Johnsbury is a stay-at-home mother of three who had one daughter in tow. She told the board that Shumlin’s reversal felt like a “sucker punch.”

“We do not have the luxury of letting (Shumlin) choose when it’s politically good for him while people are sick and dying, that’s not an option for us,” Bourque said.

The protesters who packed the board meeting are only a fraction of those who want Vermont to pursue sweeping health reforms. Many from the Northeast Kingdom could not make it to Montpelier in the middle of the day, Borque added.

A call for patience

Deb Richter, a longtime single payer advocate who regularly attends the Green Mountain Care Board’s meetings, tried to convince protesters that Shumlin is not their enemy.

“He’s the only governor in the country who raised this issue and put it in the forefront,” she said.

She urged them to have patience, and she says she is still optimistic Vermont will be the first state to have public universal health care, but that goal may need to achieved incrementally, as the governor indicated when he made his announcement Wednesday.

“This is like turning the Titanic,” she said, “Frankly, beating up on the governor I do not believe is really going to be helpful.”

Richter called on the protestors to take their message to the Legislature, which she said is now the most fertile ground for making progress on health reform.

“There’s a Legislature that can bring this up also, and I don’t think it would take much arm-twisting for the governor to go along with that,” Richter said.

“If they get 50 calls in every district, believe me they will bring this up,” she added.

Protesters made repeated demands that the board voice support for moving forward with the goals of Act 48 and commit to implementing a public universal health care program in 2017.

Board members said they appreciated the protesters’ frustrations and had heard the message, but were still processing the governor’s announcement and were unsure what they could do as a regulatory body.

“You can honestly yell at all of us, but we just heard this like you did,” said Green Mountain Care Board Chair, Al Gobeille.

“I’m not sure how you get this done, but I think we have to keep trying,” he added.

“Will you take a stand that this should be done?” a protester yelled back.

“I think we’ve all taken a stand, I’ve been working on this for three years. I’m not speaking for anyone else,” he said.

“I don’t have to apologize to anyone in this room … we’re committed to Act 48,” said Con Hogan, a board member and former secretary of the Agency of Human Services, drawing applause from the crowd.

“How much we can do, I don’t know. Al’s got the right answer there,” Con added, “But whatever we can do, we will do.”

The Green Mountain Care Board was created by Act 48 and given regulatory authority over some aspects of health insurance and hospital spending. It was also supposed to vet the governor’s benefit package and financing plan for single payer, and its approval would have been a prerequisite for implementing the program.

But absent a proposal from the governor, it’s unclear what role the board can play other than continuing their regulatory work focused on driving costs out of the system.

Board Member Alan Ramsay, a former family physician who practiced for more than three decades in Vermont, told the protesters their stories echoed those he witnessed while practicing medicine.

“It reminded me once again of the suffering that I saw in my practice for those 32 years because of people that did not have affordable high quality health care. It was not accessible to them,” Ramsay said.

He joined the board to help develop a system that is affordable, high quality and accessible, and affirmed the board’s commitment to those goals, he said.

“We’re at a better place now … than we were three years ago, if not for the very reason that this board understands the faulty nature of the health care system even better than we did when we all took this job,” Ramsay said.

He asked for the public’s trust and support as they continue to work toward the goals of Act 48.

Morgan True

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66 Comments on "Protesters demand action on single payer, condemn Shumlin’s reversal"

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Paul Richards
1 year 11 months ago

It’s the old “bait and switch”. Bet they wish they could take their votes back.

Tom Haviland
1 year 11 months ago

Yeah they could have voted for that other candidate with a universal health care plan, right?

rosemarie jackowski
1 year 11 months ago

There were 7 candidates on the ballot for governor, plus a write-in option. Voting has consequences.

Willem Post
1 year 11 months ago

Rosemarie,

The only reason Shumlin is ahead of Milne by about 2,000 votes is because of Burlington, a socialist, Bernie Sanders creation gave him a cushion of 6,000 votes.

Burlington has many household with incomes less than $50,000, that saw their Single-Payer freebee go up in smoke.

Schulman and cohorts will compensate by having F-35s in a few years to defend us from Russia.

1 year 11 months ago

OK, so in the first sentence of this article, I realized that more then SIXTY people converged on the capital to vociferously, and indignantly voice their opine, that others should pay Dr’s salaries to provide they with the drugs or treatments prescribed.

What percentage of VT is sixty people?

Not the majority I must assume as I know at least a dozen dozen taxpayers that were not their, or “they”, and you can quote me.

Moshe Braner
1 year 11 months ago

Paul, did YOU go stand out in the cold and protest against Single Payer while it was still on the governor’s agenda? No, I didn’t think so. For every person who bothered to attend this protest, there are many hundreds who agree with the protestors, but stayed at home or work. Just like every person who comments here represents many who think along the same lines. Except that posting a comment is a lot easier than protesting in the street.

Count me as one who voted for Shumlin, over and over, only because he promised single payer.

1 year 11 months ago

I voted too Moshe, as a minority of actual voters did also.

Too bad so many voters could care less about voting.

Maybe that was why Shumlin gave up on this, he didn’t want to inspire more voters.

1 year 11 months ago

Merry Christmas, Pete and Moshe!

Kathy Nelson
1 year 11 months ago

I pay no heed to the “Vermont Workers Center” whatsoever. They are amongst those responsible for putting Shumlin in office. Let them reap what they have sown. So many millions of dollars wasted that could have gone to creating more jobs and providing services for Vermont citizens……

Glenn Thompson
1 year 11 months ago
Looks like we won’t need to wait until Jan for the fireworks and entertainment to begin. It begins now! Not sure what burning up medical bills is going to accomplish? They’ll just send out another one! From the article! “Taylor has had trouble staying covered, and when she is able to enroll in Medicaid for periods of time, it’s difficult to find doctors and dentists willing to accept her as a patient, she said.” Why would that change under Single Payer…..unless of course Single Payer would force medical care providers to accept everyone? Perhaps the question should be put to… Read more »
Paul Richards
1 year 11 months ago

Let’s try this again; I bet they feel like they were deceived (another word for suckered or sucker punched). We are all adults here, let’s call it what is is.

Nick Spencer
1 year 11 months ago

I respect the passion of the 60 people protesting for single payer today, but have greater respect for the 60,000 who were working today and would have born the brunt of seeing 20 percent of their income taken to pay for it.

James Berg
1 year 11 months ago

why cant people understand that we cant tax people and business anymore in one of the most taxed states in the country? I’m broke and so is everyone else…except for those who can stand in front of the statehouse and protest…I cant afford that. If people want it so bad where are there ideas?

Rob Coates
1 year 11 months ago

They did have an idea…it was single payer. We are not getting it because the Governor is unwilling to do the heavy lifting to get it done. I don’t totally blame him, he is after all, a politician who almost got voted out of office.

Vermonters paid over $4.5 B for their healthcare treatment in 2009 (http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/health-spending-per-capita/). All of a sudden a $2B program is way too expensive.

Kathy Callaghan
1 year 11 months ago

No one from the administration has yet explained why if, as they said, we pay over $2.5b on health care already, we can ‘t afford single payer. I think they have to answer that question for the public because Michael Costa has been making that statement for at least a year.

Joyce Wilson
1 year 11 months ago
Rob, Here is the 2013 link to the per capita for Vermont as your link was the 2009. It went up $288 per person from 2009 to 2013 for Vermont. The per capita in the US went up $1,471 from 2009 to 2013. Vermont is over the national average, but it has a very high percentage of both Medicare and Medicaid patients that consume more health care. Vermont is the second oldest state so a much higher percentage on Medicare. Utah is the youngest state and look at their per capita health care spending. It is much lower. There is… Read more »
Wendy Wilton
1 year 11 months ago

Really excellent information, Joyce. More people need to understand this.

Willem Post
1 year 11 months ago
These seniors do not get a freebee being on Medicare. Here are some numbers for an upper income retired couple. A 2-person household, both retired, over 70 years old, with a GROSS household income of $200,000, a taxable income of $160,000, which is high because of few deductions at that age. – Existing annual STATE income taxes about $11,500 in 2014, per tax return. – Existing Medicare premium $104.50 per month per person, doubled to $209.00 because of “high income”, $5,016 in 2015; covers 80% of medical bills, but excludes drug cost coverage, which would have required an additional premium.… Read more »
Willem Post
1 year 11 months ago
Joyce , Here are some numbers from a Vermont website, as well as some other comments to put Single-Payer in perspective. This was also published on VTDigger under Commentary, but it was much shorter and did not include the latest information. This the latest, more complete version. All, The numbers in the below article are revised for a MEDICAL PAYROLL TAX of 11.5% (the leaked number was 8%), and a MEDICAL INCOME SURTAX of 9.5% (the leaked number was 9%), capped at an astounding $27,500/yr., based on the Governor’s Single-Payer concession speech, which was about 4 years overdue. This agonizing,… Read more »
Willem Post
1 year 11 months ago
…These revised paragraphs improve clarification: – Existing AARP Supplementary premium (for the 20% not paid by Medicare) of $213.16 per month for 2 people, $2,558 in 2015; up from $198.44 in 2014, or up 7.4%. NOTE: Under existing federal law, Medicare providers would continue to bill Medicare, even after enactment of a state Single-Payer, but the STATE would take over the function of Medicare supplementary insurance, such as AARP and Medicare Part D, and would pay the costs not covered by Medicare, just as Medicare supplementary insurance and Medicare Part D insurance do now. Would the couple pay whatever premium… Read more »
Willem Post
1 year 11 months ago

Joyce,

The rapid graying occurs, because young people are moving out to find better job opportunities.

Walter Carpenter
1 year 11 months ago

“It’s the old “bait and switch”. Bet they wish they could take their votes back.”

It ain’t dead yet.

Carl Werth
1 year 11 months ago

If it ain’t dead, is it merely “pining for the fjords”?

Mike Gagnon
1 year 11 months ago

LOL. “Pining for the fjords!” No, no it’s resting. No it’s stunned. Pushing up the daisies. Gone to meet it’s maker. Kicked the bucket. This is an ex-health plan! Just in case you missed it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vuW6tQ0218

Jon Corrigan
1 year 11 months ago

It’s always educational to watch the childish antics of those deluded enough to believe something the rest of us pay for should be free for them. Right on cue, just like a four-year old, they throw temper tantrums when things don’t go their way.

Jim Barrett
1 year 11 months ago

The protesters were happy with the thought that Vermonters would be facing a financial crisis unseen in modern times. Vermont is one of the highest taxed states but it is obvious these protesters didn’t care. As for Shumlin, the decision was political as usual to try and make a last ditch effort to win votes by the legislature on who the next governor will be.

Paul Richards
1 year 11 months ago

“As for Shumlin, the decision was political as usual to try and make a last ditch effort to win votes by the legislature on who the next governor will be.”
Well it actually worked. The blueprint for hood winking the stupid voters was refined by the obama administration and gruber. Just look at the lies and deceit and payoffs that ushered in obamacare. Look at the delays and payoffs after the fact. It’s the gift that keeps on giving to the supporters and taking from the rest of us.

Bob Stannard
1 year 11 months ago
Shumlin has done more to bring attention to the issue of healthcare than any other governor. He tried to implement single-payer. Name the other governor trying to do so. Did much beloved, Gov. Douglas, attempt to do anything at all about addressing healthcare for all? Maybe those who are so anxious to condemn the governor might see this as an opportunity to come together and work on the art of the possible. People who lead are the ones most likely to be criticized. Stop and ask if you would rather work with a leader or one who simply sits back… Read more »
Willem Post
1 year 11 months ago

Bob,
Shulman said he was going to concentrate on the art of the other “possible”: Get the Vermont near-zero-growth economy moving again.

Here is what he needs to do:

– Get rid of the posse of Single-Payer Kool-Aid drinkers that is surrounding and befuddling him.

– Bring in level-headed Douglas as an advisor.

– Clean house.

– Make a fresh start.

– Get the moribund, near-zero-growth economy growing again

– Raise the minimum wage to $15

– REDUCE the state budget and headcount by at east 10% in one year.

1 year 11 months ago

Raise the minimum wage to 20$ an hour and see how many WalMarts fold quickly, and how many rioters appear as suddenly.

This is the NWO. A gift of the Bushes, and Clintons.

Randal Murray
1 year 11 months ago

A whole 60 people showed up!??! What a joke!
This is just damage control to try and keep his job!
Good decision making, two parents involved and hard work is what will get you healthcare, not whining to the government for a hand out!

Rob Coates
1 year 11 months ago

Vermonters should be outraged. We are now guaranteed to get screwed by the insurance companies and other “private market” forces to the tune of 15% + of their income. The ACA, at best, will only reign in some inflation.

It’s not that Vermont is too small or over taxed to have a single payer plan. It’s those that are afraid of being small and over taxed don’t have the guts to demand better from their leadership.

Tom Sullivan
1 year 11 months ago

Hey Rob,
The single payer fiasco would have been administered by a third party which was said to be BCBS. So either way, you would still be dealing with a large insurance company.
Sorry…….

John Freitag
1 year 11 months ago
Those who supported Peter Shumlin’s cynical wait for over 2 years ( and weeks after the election) to release the details of his health plan should take some responsibility for their own inability to get beyond their ideological commitment to single payer for Vermont. I voted for Peter Shumlin in 2010 and 2012. I did not vote for him in this election because it was clear after years of study that single payer , while a viable option for nations, could not work for a single state. This combined with the ineptitude of the Shumlin administration’s oversite of Vermont Health… Read more »
Paul Donovan
1 year 11 months ago

Targeting the Governor, who is merely acknowledging the fiscal reality, is a huge tactical blunder providing single-payer opponents a golden opportunity to beat up on the Workers Center as well as the Governor, and they pounced. The Center needs to listen to cooler heads, and redirect their legitimate anger where it will do some good.

Kathy Callaghan
1 year 11 months ago
The whole point is to get people covered under a decent plan that takes away their financial suffering. Single payer won’t do that, and it’s shameful that the administration wasted so much time and money to prove what was obvious from the start. That’s the real tragedy. Imagine how many people could have been helped with the money wasted on trying to prove that single payer would work. Now it’s time for the Legislature to get to work to provide real relief for suffering Vermonters. These stories are real, and I’m glad that the GMC Board took the time to… Read more »
1 year 11 months ago

I don’t know how the prices after subsidies compare with those here in Vermont, but one can do their own personal comparison with one’s existing plan by going to this site: http://www.valuepenguin.com/ppaca/exchanges/nh

Craig Powers
1 year 11 months ago
Childish antics and temper tantrum come to mind when I see scenes like this. They also loudly interrupted a GMCB meeting with rants, sobbing and chanting (like that helps to create any type of dialog). The GMCB should have had them removed. The VWC also issued a press release that said 100+ showed up to protest. VTD says sixty. The BFP says about 40ish. VWC claims that they represent a majority of VTer’s wishes. This claim is certainly a huge stretch of their imagination. Do us all a favor VWC…put up a Progressive candidate for Gov (please have them wear… Read more »
Rob Gaiotti
1 year 11 months ago

Wonder what happened to the toast?

rosemarie jackowski
1 year 11 months ago
The only surprise here is that anyone is surprised with the governor’s announcement. For a very long time, I have been blogging on Common Dreams and other sites that the democrats will not deliver on Single Payer. Vermont needs a political movement that supports the people too – not ONLY the business community. We already have that ‘movement’ – the Liberty Union Party. Now what should we do? What is plan B? Maybe set up clinics around the state to offer medical/dental care to those who have no access…. and in the meantime, let’s publish the administrative costs of the… Read more »
Stan Shapiro
1 year 11 months ago
There is a great deal of emotion generated and appropriately so from all sides.What needs to be stated is that the cadre of well qualified and interested individuals in both the public and private sectors of health care have not been sitting idly by watching Rome burn. The GMCB is putting tremendous energy and work with hospitals to achieve the triple aim of the improving patient care experience,improve the health of populations,and reduce cost. In addition if you were an act 48 supporter you would realize the governor did his due diligence and found that it would not fulfill the… Read more »
Neil Johnson
1 year 11 months ago
60 people get front page news! Wow way to skew a story! We could have the best health care in the world for less money, in Vermont. It could be cheaper, but the problem is we want more expensive medicine rather than effective medicine. We don’t allow competition and the mergers continue, pretty soon it will be one doctors office for the state and one health insurance company for the state. If people knew, what they were paying for health care things would change quickly. If employers were only allowed to reimburse money for health care and people had to… Read more »
Paul Richards
1 year 11 months ago

The road to hell is paved with good intensions. We need to stop voting on emotion and get real. The states and federal governments are way to corrupt to ever effectively run a system as complicated as health care. As a result we end up with nothing but an inept system destined to fail, nothing but a huge slush fund for a bunch of corrupt bought an paid for elite career politicians. Don’t vote for Democrats or Republicans, vote for constitutional conservatives or throw this country away, it’s done.

Michael Keane
1 year 11 months ago
Wow. It appears to be official: It’s “Dump on Shumlin Time.” Shame on us. I’m going to agree with Bob Stannard: practically no other governor in the country, in the country, mind you! was willing to take on the health care system, the place where your health and mine have been “dollarized” for years. It appears that we all expected miracles when we should have realized that the process of health care reform is one with so many moving parts that it almost has to be a “voyage of discovery” concerning costs, payments, implementation choices, and methods, and situations where… Read more »
Walter Carpenter
1 year 11 months ago

“but we still marched down this road expecting or hoping it would work out.”

And we will keep marching down this road. One of the biggest obstacles became the affordable care act and when it was implemented.

Roger Widlow
1 year 11 months ago

I wonder how many of the protesters had to skip work to march?

Walter Carpenter
1 year 11 months ago

“I wonder how many of the protesters had to skip work to march?”

What’s the difference? They were there because they wanted to be there to make a statement which needs to be made.

Roger Widlow
1 year 11 months ago

“What’s the difference”, Walter Carpenter?
How many of the protesters are hard-working taxpayers vs. free-loaders.

Scott Woodward
1 year 11 months ago
To Neil Johnson’s point, price transparency should be one of the next frontiers in Vermont. It’s an area ripe for improvement. A blood draw costs 7 times more at UVM Medical Center than it does at Mt. Ascutney ($1,284 vs. $175). Granted, this is a cherry picked example, but there are plenty of examples that are worthy of attention. In a recent evaluation, Vermont got an overall grade of ‘C’ for transparency, relatively good compared to the rest of the country, but it got an ‘F’ for its website (pg. 17 in the link below). http://www.hci3.org/sites/default/files/files/Report_PriceTransLaws_2014.pdf We can do better.… Read more »
Stan Shapiro
1 year 11 months ago

To Mr. Woodwards point Mt Ascutney has to charge more because of the payer mix. The larger the Medicaid -Medicare cohort compared to commmercial insurers the more operating costs need to be covered by the cost shift.Therefore higher prices . Well off areas can charge less due to the fact that their is reasonable reimbursement. Being paid 30-60 cents on the dollar does not allow even expenses to be covered by areas with high publicly funded populations.

Ron Pulcer
1 year 11 months ago
Stan, I think you flipped around Scott’s comparison of UVM vs. Ascutney hospitals for “blood draw” service. Here is Scott’s quote: “A blood draw costs 7 times more at UVM Medical Center than it does at Mt. Ascutney ($1,284 vs. $175).” UVM has the higher cost, in this one example. While Medicare – Medicaid cohort per region is a factor in any service comparison, perhaps the place to look is management overhead, and maybe infrastructure. Remember the Renaissance Project at Fletcher Allen, aka UVM several years ago? But you are correct, all these factors need to be reviewed, which I… Read more »
1 year 11 months ago
The present health care system is unsustainable. We are at 20%oGDP for Vt.and 18+% GDP for the country and growing in both cases..it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a completely new system will be needed, probably sooner that later. Either that, or our medical system will have to “triage” the general population as health care will be a commodity that most will not be able to afford. We are we are actually doing some of that now with deductibles, co-pays, and premiums. Triage-A system used to allocate a scarce commodity, such as food, only to those capable… Read more »
1 year 11 months ago

“This is like turning the Titanic”

No Deb, it is like ramming the titanic into the iceberg! The ones who want to reverse the misguided course that we have been taking on health care reform for over 20 years are the ones trying to turn the titanic. We would like to replace a top down, government by bureaucratic decree approach with one that focuses on patient choice and preserves the integrity of the doctor patient relationship. It is a Davic vs. Goliath approach.

Stan Hopson
1 year 11 months ago

Bob Stannard says Shumlin was bold for attempting healthcare reform, I say the Governor played these third-party healthcare activist groups like a fiddle cementing his re-election.

Walter Carpenter
1 year 11 months ago
“We would like to replace a top down, government by bureaucratic decree approach with one that focuses on patient choice and preserves the integrity of the doctor patient relationship.” Exactly what is patient choice? How would patient choice be different under single-payer versus the so-called Free market, if there is such a thing? I have experienced this patient choice under the private system versus the public one. I can tell you what patient choice is under each. In the private system, the insurance company rules your choice. They rule which facilities/physicians you can see through networked providers; they dictate what… Read more »
sandra bettis
1 year 11 months ago

Our towns and cities and schools and state are all in trouble financially – largely due to health care costs – single payer would have been a win win for everyone. It is too bad that Mr Shumlin has taken the coward’s way out.

sandra bettis
1 year 11 months ago

We, as taxpayers, will be paying for this decision over and over until someone has the guts to make this happen. Remember that every time you complain about your property taxes (based on education costs which include exorbitant health care costs).

sandra bettis
1 year 11 months ago

When a service is privatized, taxpayers and clients lose money and services. This is how I know that taking health care out of the hands of the ins cos would be a win win for all of us.

David R. Black
1 year 11 months ago

Burning of medical bills reminds me of burning draft cards. Ahhh, the good old days of the 60’s.

Cairn Cross
1 year 11 months ago

From more than 3 years ago: http://vtdigger.wpengine.com/2011/02/08/cross-single-payer-many-sweatshops/ It was pretty easy to figure out then…it is pretty easy to figure out now. The obfuscation for three years and the recent reversal in position are simply politics. Governor Shumlin will pay the political price for this but complicit alongside him are the many legislators who did not dig in to the numbers and force accountability many years ago. If so we may have been well along a path towards health care reform. The legislators who were complicit in this charade should also be held accountable.

1 year 11 months ago

As long as only a small minority cares about voting, the incumbents are safe as pigs in a blanket.

Randy Koch
1 year 11 months ago

What an unfortunate metaphor Deb Richter uses about how we must be patient because it’s so hard to “turn the Titanic”

Dave Bellini
1 year 11 months ago

“This is like turning the Titanic,”

The analogy to the Titanic is 100% accurate.

Sam Adams
1 year 11 months ago

Wait for Hillary, she loves to kick hippies.

1 year 11 months ago

All 60 of them took the day off from paying taxes in order to make everyone else pay more, is how it seems to me.

sandra bettis
1 year 11 months ago

Willem, Medicare sucks. I would much rather have single payer.

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