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Some good news on the Health Care front. Many organizations are stepping up to the plate and fighting to stop the Canadian-style take-over of our health care system, along with at least two billion dollars of our hard earned money. I’m proud to say that FreedomWorks and its members have been calling legislators, writing letters and op-eds to local papers, spreading the alarm to friends and neighbors – doing a good job of turning up the heat on this issue.
Everybody’s hard work is starting to pay off. The public seems to be gaining an understanding of just what H.524 is, and what terrible consequences any such plan will have for our economy, jobs, and the quality of our health care.
As such, the forces fighting in favor of socialized medicine are finding surprisingly little support for their idea amongst the voters. But, they are not taking this lying down….
On Thursday (May 12th), House Speaker Gay Symington is working with Howard Dean’s Democracy for America (DFA) and a coalition of other organizations across the state to organize Health Care House Parties in communities across Vermont in hopes of building momentum for H.524. It’s a desperate measure, but sometimes desperate measures do pay off.
We should take this as a sign that we are doing the right things, but we need to keep putting out our message -- more than ever. We’re making progress, but even the Governor is talking about raising taxes on insurance companies, which would likely cause premiums to rise as well. So, keep up the calls. Keep up the letters. And keep on spreading the facts about H.524. Listed below, for your reference, are a dozen questions that all Vermonters should be asking about the legislature’s plans for health care.
Victory in politics goes to those who show up! Thank you for your participation,
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Health Care Questions:
1. Examples in Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, Germany, France and even Tennessee demonstrate that government-run health care leads to innumerable problems, including fatal waiting lines, broken economies, declining quality of care, and rationing. Why would Vermonters want -- and what makes Montpelier think it can make work -- a system that has never worked anywhere?
2. The Governor’s office demonstrates how a government-run health care system would require $2 billion in new income and payroll taxes just to maintain current spending levels. What effect would raising $2 billion in new income and payroll taxes have on our economy?
3. Proponents admit that that under the government-run plan the total amount of money Vermonters pay for health care will continue to increase. If businesses are currently unable to pay cost of premiums, how will they be able to afford a mandatory rise in payroll taxes? And what happens to a business that cannot afford to pay its taxes?
4. The government-run plan promises that Vermonters will receive “essential” care. What is “essential” care? What is not? Who determines this? Is a second opinion considered “essential?”
5. Proponents of government-run health care tell us that costs will be contained by having the government set and enforce “global budgets” -- pre-negotiated caps on spending -- but don’t say what will happen if a global budget runs out of money while people are still in need of “essential care.” Are sick individuals simply out of luck as they are in Canada? If so, how does this guarantee access to care? If not, how does this control costs?
6. Unlike private insurance companies, the government has sovereign immunity against lawsuits. With government-run care, would aggrieved patients lose the right to sue (See questions 4 & 5)? Or would Vermont taxpayers ultimately be liable for any damages determined by a court of law?
7. Many Vermonters, for convenience, comfort or quality, seek medical care in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York. Will these options be eliminated for Vermonters under the government-run plan? Can Vermont’s hospitals safely absorb the influx of patients now being treated at Dartmouth Hitchcock and Albany Medical should those institutions refuse to honor the Vermont cost structure?
8. What happens if a Vermonter needs care while traveling outside of the state? Will Vermonters need to purchase additional private insurance -- on top of the 2 billion in new taxes -- to cover such an event? If not, how will “global budgeting” apply to and guarantee “essential care” for Vermonter citizens outside our own borders?
9. Will the government-run plan take away the excellent insurance coverage enjoyed by teachers, state and municipal employees, and other organized workers? Or will this plan create a two-tiered system, with the taxpayers financing both the elite health care benefits for government workers, and a poorer system for themselves?
10. The proponents of government-run health care argue that we can save money by eliminating the complicated “patchwork” of the current system. If teachers and municipal employees are ultimately allowed to keep their top-tier health insurance, the wealthy are allowed to purchase private insurance in addition to the government run plan, provisions are made to accommodate the insurance plans of the 12 million tourists who visit Vermont each year (some of whom require medical service), the new system will still have to accommodate Medicare, VA, and ERISA-funded, and all other types of private insurance. How, therefore, do we eliminate the patchwork any achieve any real savings? Are we not just adding another patch to the patchwork?
11. The law is clear that Vermont cannot place any residency requirements on those seeking to become residents. How can we keep sick people from flocking to Vermont to become "residents" to take advantage of “free” health care? What would such an influx of sick individuals do to the quality of care and waiting lines here in Vermont?
12. Even proponents of government-run healthcare (Vermont Health Care for All) cite polls showing that nearly half of all doctors in Vermont do not want this plan. Many are vehemently opposed to it. If even a fraction of that number decides to stop practicing in Vermont at the same time government plan is bringing more patients into the system, how will fewer doctors and more patients affect the timeliness and the quality of care Vermonters ultimately receive?