Vermont Progressive Party State Representative Sandy Haas posted the following at the Prog Blog:
In his December 16 St. Albans Messenger editorial, Emerson Lynn asserted that the Vermont legislature should not “waste time” talking about health care reform. That, of course, is the position of the 40 Republicans in the U.S. Senate, who voted to prevent debate a health insurance reform bill. Perhaps Mr. Lynn would also refuse to listen to the many, many constituents who stop me on the street to plead that we do something to reduce the crippling cost of health insurance. People have just received their bills for next year, and many are struggling to decide whether to give up health insurance entirely. Some employers are facing a 40% increase over last year’s premiums. Some individuals find that coverage will cost half of their total family income. The public hearing on health care scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on January 12th at the Statehouse will allow some of these people to tell my colleagues about their plight. Lynn asserts that listening to them is merely politics and a waste of our time.
Why do Progressives support a single-payer plan? Because other countries have proven that single payer can cover everyone at half the total cost and actually keep people healthier than the hodge-podge of “insurance products” in the U.S. In Canada, it was one province that first adopted single payer. The rest of the country then asked to copy their success.
The Vermont legislature passed a single-payer bill in 2005, only to have it vetoed by Gov. Douglas. With the prospect of a new governor next year, it is totally appropriate to look for a candidate who is not married to the insurance industry, where even Vermont’s “nonprofit” Blue Cross company paid its CEO over $7 million last year. We have 25 committees in the Statehouse working daily during the session. It’s not only appropriate to have one or two of them closely analyze what Vermont can do to create a true health care “system,” it’s imperative.