FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Not Single-Payer in Vermont

by RUSSELL MOKHIBER

Look at the headlines that came out of Vermont last month.

CBS News: Vermont Governor Signs Single Payer Health Law.

Democracy Now: Vermont Governor Signs Single Payer Health Law.

Kaiser Health News: Shumlin Signs Vermont’s Single Payer Law.

Here’s the problem:

It’s not single payer.

Not even close.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) was onto the Vermont bill early.

On April 7, the group put out a press release titled:

Vermont Bill Mislabeled Single Payer.

But PNHP’s criticism of the bill was muted.

After all, one of PNHP’s own ? Dr. Deb Richter ? was taking the lead in Vermont to get the bill passed.

But single payer activists ? not happy with the Vermont result ? are now coming out of the closet.

“Single-payer activists need to be honest,” Chicago single payer activists Helen Redmond told Single Payer Action last week. “The law signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin is not single-payer.”

“Not even close.”

Redmond says that even the phrase “single payer” was “stripped out early on during ‘sausage making’ sessions.”

“Single payer means one payer, like Medicare and the VA,” Redmond said. “One source paying the bills, not several. The Vermont law continues to allow private insurers to operate in Vermont indefinitely. That’s why the insurance industry vampires didn’t declare total war on Shumlin and the Green Mountain Care ‘universal’ health care program because they’ve still got a ton of skin in the game.”

Redmond said that the bill only declares “an intention or aspiration: to provide health care for all Vermont residents ? “six years down the road, when by the way, Shumlin will no longer be in office.”

“Aspirations and intentions are not good enough,” Redmond said. “We need health care as a human right now. 45,000 Americans die every year because they lack access to health care.”

And Redmond questioned whether moving for single payer at the state level is a realistic strategy.

“The deck is stacked against passing single-payer at the state level because of a complex series of federal programs, laws and regulations and the savvy, we-can-wait-’em-out, insurers understand this,” she said. “Vermont and any other state that attempts to pass single-payer must obtain waiver after waiver allowing them exemption from federal constraints. The powers that be inside the beltway will not grant these waivers. Remember, they take a lot of cash from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to ensure their financial health.”

“When it comes to state single-payer initiatives, activists have to think strategically and ask themselves, ‘Is this the fight that we need to have?’ Fights over waivers and ERISA, or a nationwide fight to win a single-payer system for the entire country?”

“In my opinion, it’s better to have a fight for national legislation like H.R. 676 as proposed by Rep. John Conyers that really does create a single-payer system and abolishes the private insurance industry than to have a fight over a piece of state legislation with no funding mechanisms, is riddled with numerous bureaucratic roadblocks and makes vague promises to enact what the majority of people want ? health care as a human right for all.”

“There is no short-cut to a national single-payer health care system and politicians with the best of intentions will not gently enact it. There is no way to avoid a head on collision with the parasitic, for-profit insurance industry to put them out of business once and for all. Let’s stay on that road.”

Russell Mokhiber edits Single Payer Action.

 

 

 

Russell Mokhiber edits the Corporate Crime Reporter.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
Charles R. Larson
A Review of Mary Roach’s “Grunt”
David Yearsley
Stuck in Houston on the Cusp of the Apocalypse
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail