Vermonters for Health Care Freedom is a 501 (c) (4) organization of individuals and businesses who are deeply concerned about health care reforms being implemented by Governor Shumlin, and seek patient-centered reforms that protect the traditional doctor-patient relationship.

Newsletter - November 2, 2012

Here is the most interesting news regarding Vermont’s single payer health care experiment from the week ending November 2, 2012.

IN THIS ISSUE:

> Poll Advises Democrats to Mislead Voters
> VT Leads – Single Payer NOW! Goes Political
> Brock Explains Health Care Stand
> VT Leads – Single Payer NOW! Goes Political
> Manchester Journal Editorial Nails Health Care Debate

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Poll Advises Democrats to Mislead Voters

Peter Hirschfeld penned a story for the Times Argus and Rutland Herald about a $4,000 poll sponsored by the “Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal political action committee based in Washington, D.C., [which] is being used not only to tout the electoral benefits of a “D,” but to show broad support generally among Vermonters for one of the party’s defining policies: single-payer health care.

The poll found 53 percent of respondents approve of single payer health care and 38 percent disapprove based upon the following question:

“Do you approve or disapprove of Vermont going forward with Green Mountain Care, a single-payer health care system that will guarantee coverage for everyone in the state?”

But when asked the following question:

“Opponents of Green Mountain Care say that it will increase taxes. Do you think this is a good reason to oppose Green Mountain Care, or not?”

55 percent said they thought it was a good reason to oppose single payer. So there we have it. If there was any doubt about why Governor Shumlin and the single payer advocates refuse to discuss how they will raise the approximately $3 billion in new taxes needed to pay for single payer, here is your answer: Vermonter’s support for the plan evaporates once they see the price tag.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) also sought to provide Democrats who voted for and support single payer with a way to ‘spin’ the tax increase to maintain support. They found that when the tax increase was worded as follows,

“In order to pay for Green Mountain Care, would you support or oppose a small increase in taxes on the richest two percent of Vermont residents?”

58 percent agreed. It is important to note that fewer than half of their total sample was asked this question, suggesting that they added the question while the survey was underway to blunt the negative results of the tax increase question.

But there is no way a small tax increase on the wealthiest 2 percent of Vermonters could raise the $3 billion needed. Based upon 2010 Tax Department data, the top 2 percent paid almost $164 million in Vermont income taxes, which was nearly one-third of all income tax collections. These taxpayers would have to shoulder an 18-fold increase in their taxes to cover this cost, which by the way exceeds their total adjusted gross income. How long would it take for these 6,827 families to move out of state and simply avoid Vermont income taxes?

If we asked 100 percent of Vermonters to pay for single payer through their income taxes we would collectively shoulder something like a five-fold increase in our state income taxes.  But in the absence of a single payer budget and financing plan, the PCCC was free to proclaim,

“In a breakthrough ­finding, Democrats can definitively beat back the tax argument by making clear that new taxes will only affect the wealthy.” [Emphasis theirs]

There is no question that The Shumlin Administration is misleading the public by refusing to discuss single payer financing until 2015. There is also no question that until Vermonters force the governor and single payer advocates to present a credible budget and financing plan, misleading manipulations of the truth like those promoted by the PCCC will continue.

The Times Argus article is here:

http://www.timesargus.com/article/20121027/NEWS03/710279999/1050

The PCCC Press Release is available here:

http://vthealthcarefreedom.org/sites/default/files/PCCC-VT-Polling-2012.pdf

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VT Leads – Single Payer NOW! Goes Political

News broke on Halloween through the Vermont Press Bureau and VTDigger that the union–financed advocacy group, VT Leads-Single Payer NOW! created their own political action committee (PAC) to prop up support for single payer candidates. According to the press reports, the new PAC has spent between $13,000 and $35,000 on direct mail and phone calls made in support of 19 state House and Senate candidates and four statewide candidates.

VT Leads – Single Payer NOW! is entirely funded by $100,000 from the huge national Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which lacks a single Vermont member. The additional funding for the PAC is assumed to come from the same source.

VT Leads claims they are responding to the apparently effective efforts of Vermonters First, an anti-single payer PAC funded by a wealthy Vermonter who resides in Burlington. According to the Vermonters First web site,

“For a long time now, Vermont has been seen by the out-of-state political Left as a place to spend and experiment. Issues ranging from radical and unconstitutional campaign finance laws to a healthcare system that average Vermonter cannot afford, it has reached a point where many Vermonters feel we no longer have a voice in how we are governed.”

The SEIU intervention and creation of the VT Leads PAC prove the point.

The Vermont Press Bureau report is here:

http://www.vermontpressbureau.com/tag/vermont-leads/

The VTDigger report is here:

http://vtdigger.org/2012/10/31/vermont-leads-forms-pac-spends-35000-on-calls-postcards-for-statehouse-candidates/

The Vermonters First web site is here:

http://vermontersfirst.com/home

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Brock Explains Health Care Stand

The Addison Independent published a profile interview with Sen. Randy Brock, who is challenging Governor Peter Shumlin in the race for governor on Tuesday. Brock offered these comments on health care reform:

“What we are going to do is take a fifth of our economy — $5 billion a year — and we are going to put it in the hands of five people, unelected and unaccountable?” Brock said of Green Mountain Care Board. “We can’t even fire them. None of them has ever run a health care system, none of them has ever run a hospital, and none of them has ever run an insurance company.”

Brock said he supports decoupling health insurance from employment, allowing for the money to follow the individual instead of being predicated by employment.

“The idea is to put patients more in charge of their own care,” Brock said.

At the same time, Brock said the state should get a handle on the “cost drivers” of health care costs and “adopt realistic plans for dealing with each of those drivers.”

Instead, the state is pushing ahead in developing a single-payer system without a clear idea of the costs or implications, according to Brock.

“What we are doing now is driving 100 mph through the fog, not really sure where we’re going,” Brock said, quoting one of his legislative colleagues. “And we are blowing up every bridge behind us.”

The full Addison Independent interview can be seen here:

http://www.addisonindependent.com/201211%E2%80%98moderation%E2%80%99-stressed-brock-campaign

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Manchester Journal Editorial Nails Health Care Debate

The Manchester Journal presented a cogent analysis of the approaches of the two major party candidates for governor regarding Vermont’s march toward single payer health care:

“No discussion of Mr. Shumlin's first term in office would be complete without reference to the often incorrectly stated area of "single payer healthcare." The governor's proposal goes beyond what is called for in the federal Affordable Care Act, which is pretty big change by itself - change in the right direction, by and large, we might add. However, we're concerned the governor is pushing a model of healthcare financing that has too many unanswered questions, particularly when it comes to costs. It's highly reliant on the federal government pumping in large amounts of money in the form of tax credits. Given the need to right-size federal spending and move towards a more balanced level of federal spending that relies less on debt, that's a shaky premise, it seems to us. Mr. Shumlin has said repeatedly that if after they crunch the numbers, "Green Mountain Care," as the program is known, proves too expensive, they'll adjust accordingly. But given the political capital Mr. Shumlin has invested in his healthcare initiative, it would be remarkable if they back off of that track now. We think Mr. Brock's more incremental approach as well as greater emphasis on personal responsibility has a surer footing. We all agree healthcare spending can't continue like it is, but for a small state like Vermont to attempt what Mr. Shumlin has proposed is too risky, unless saddling the state's business community with more costs is somehow acceptable. It shouldn't be.”

The full Manchester Journal editorial is here (note that VHCF does not endorse the title, purpose or conclusion of the editorial; it is referenced here only to present the analysis quoted above):

http://www.manchesterjournal.com/editorials/ci_21852399/brock-governor

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CALENDAR NOTE:   Details of upcoming health reform events are available on the VHCF calendar:

http://vthealthcarefreedom.org/calendar

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Vermonters for Health Care Freedom provides a weekly summary of news and opinion each Friday. For daily news and updates click “LIKE” on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/VermontersforHealthcareFreedom) and visit often.

"So much of the focus of H 202 and S 57 is centered on controlling the cost of health care, which is a multi-faceted entity. This legislation in its current form will directly affect the manner in which health care providers are reimbursed for their services, rather than address the root issues of the so-called “health care” crisis. Health care is costly due to many factors, including patients who are reluctant to be proactive about their health or who make poor health and lifestyle choices. Before the legislature moves forward with governmental regulation of an entire industry, they should be reminded that they are altering an industry that is responsible for 20% of the state’s economy. In addition, this bill is nothing more than an empty shell as it does not outline benefits, access, or how it will be funded. Take it back to the drawing board before you do permanent damage to the industry and the state."

Andrew Conte of Milton, Vermont
Occupational Health Coordinator

  • Employers pay 40% of the healthcare costs – and were never consulted.
  • An appointed board will determine benefits, coverage, funding, deductibles, co-pays, premiums, technology, provider payments, etc.
  • Under this law, you will not be allowed to purchase insurance outside of the Vermont Health Benefit Exchange.