11-18-13 – Shumlin and the Tea Party Nuts

by John McClaughry 

The internet was abuzz last week with Vermont Digger’s report of Gov. Shumlin’s appearance at the Physicians for a National Health Plan conference in Boston. He was invited, obviously, because he has made single payer health care his overriding goal for Vermont.

But the single payer advocates were critical of Shumlin’s Green Mountain Care. They don’t think it will work because it is not likely to include Federal health programs like Medicare for seniors. This is perfectly true, and well explained in the Hsaio report the legislature received in 2010, but Shumlin rushed ahead anyway.

Shumlin was obviously exasperated, and told the single payer faithful that “if you help me get rid of those Tea Party nuts in 2014, I’ll get it done.” The Governor apparently believes that “the Tea Party nuts” are somehow retarding the march toward  his Green Mountain Care. This probably came as quite a surprise to the Tea Party folks in Vermont, who never dreamed they were so influential.

The PNHP conference report usefully emphasizes this point: for single payer to deliver its promised benefits, there has to be only one payer. There can’t be the federal government paying for Medicare, federal government paying for Tricare, and self-insured companies paying for their employees. Single payer aims to reconstruct the medical universe to get huge savings – which I don’t believe for a minute – but in any case “half single payer” simply cannot be made to work.


John McClaughry is the founder and current vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robert November 20, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Here is what the “Tea Party Nuts” are advocating as health care reform:

Real Health Care Reform would meet the following criteria:

CONSTITUTIONAL: Real health care reform will be constitutional and protect all Americans’ rights.

COMPREHENSIBLE: Real health care reform will be comprehensible, clear, and simple for everyone to understand.

DEBT-FREE: Real health care reform will not add to the national debt.

RELATIONSHIPS: Real health care reform will enhance the doctor-patient relationship.

FREE MARKET: Real health care reform will draw on the strengths of the free market by encouraging innovation and competition.

PRIVACY: Real health care reform will minimize the role of the federal government in the health care sector.

CHARITY: Real health care reform will incorporate opportunities for the private sector to provide charitable solutions.

CHOICE: Real health care reform will increase consumer choice.

TRANSPARENCY: Real health care reform will increase transparency.


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