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 is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 24, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Reflections on DC: Promises and Pitfalls in the Anti-Trump Uprising
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Developer Welfare: Trump’s Infrastructure Plan
Melvin Goodman
Trump at the CIA: the Orwellian World of Alternative Facts
Sam Mitrani – Chad Pearson
A Short History of Liberal Myths and Anti-Labor Politics
Kristine Mattis
Democracy is Not a Team Sport
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Mexico, Neo-Nationalism and the Capitalist World-System
Ted Rall
The Women’s March Was a Dismal Failure and a Hopeful Sign
Norman Pollack
Women’s March: Halt at the Water’s Edge
Pepe Escobar
Will Trump Hop on an American Silk Road?
Franklin Lamb
Trump’s “Syria “Minus Iran” Overture to Putin and Assad May Restore Washington-Damascus Relations
Kenneth R. Culton
Violence By Any Other Name
David Swanson
Why Impeach Donald Trump
Christopher Brauchli
Trump’s Contempt
January 23, 2017
John Wight
Trump’s Inauguration: Hail Caesar!
Mark Schuller
So What am I Doing Here? Reflections on the Inauguration Day Protests
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Trump and Isis Have More in Common Than You Might Think
Binoy Kampmark
Ignored Ironies: Women, Protest and Donald Trump
Gregory Barrett
Flag, Cap and Screen: Hollywood’s Propaganda Machine
Gareth Porter
US Intervention in Syria? Not Under Trump
L. Ali Khan
Trump’s Holy War against Islam
Gary Leupp
An Al-Qaeda Attack in Mali:  Just Another Ripple of the Endless, Bogus “War on Terror”
Norman Pollack
America: Banana Republic? Far Worse
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
We Mourn, But We March!
Kim Nicolini
Trump Dump: One Woman March and Personal Shit as Political
William Hawes
We Are on Our Own Now
Martin Billheimer
Last Tango in Moscow
Colin Todhunter
Development and India: Why GM Mustard Really Matters
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s America—and Ours
David Mattson
Fog of Science II: Apples, Oranges and Grizzly Bear Numbers
Clancy Sigal
Who’s Up for This Long War?
Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail