Friday, April 01, 2011
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
A group of people who oppose a health care bill making its way through the Legislature took their cause to the capital Thursday, denouncing the measure as ill-conceived and rushed.
About 20 people representing a coalition of groups -- including Green Mountain Patriots and other tea party organizations -- gathered at the Statehouse to lobby lawmakers and show "Sick and Sicker," a film that makes a case against health care administered by the government.
Patricia Crocker, an organizer with Green Mountain Patriots, said the event was aimed at highlighting the rush to approve the bill without opportunities for public comment.
A televised, statewide public hearing March 14 that allowed people in different locations to comment limited the number of people who could speak and was the only opportunity for comment before the House passed the bill, she said.
"These sham hearings, carefully orchestrated by the Shumlin administration and special interest groups with a shared agenda, implemented a tactic used by scheming legislators for decades," said Crocker, an Essex resident.
So much for the Patriots' love for the "marketplace of ideas."
Anyhoo, I have found the "rushed" canard to be especially amusing--even more than the cries of "socialism." It's something clearly adopted from failed Republican/Tea Party attempts to stop the watered-down ACA at the national level, where we heard throughout a year-long process that things were going too quickly (this after 45 years of debate over the merest of incremental improvements). And as Vermont has moved forward, we've certainly experienced a trickle-down effect in terms of anti-healthcare rhetoric.
Even before our quasi-public option of Catamount Health went into effect 4 years ago, it was clear that we have been heading toward some form of single-payer. We've punted a few times, but each step has improved the system a bit for more Vermonters, and we're finally in the end game.
So to still hear that the process is too fast at this late date just makes me roll my eyes and chuckle.
S.88, which was itself diluted during the legislative process last session but required a single-payer option, started this last phase of reform. It was introduced on February 17, 2010, and did not become law until May 12. In between there were lots of hearings, and myriad chances to meet with your legislators, write letters to the editor, etc. Then we had an election where Democrats retained control of the legislative branch and regained the executive.
Sounds like the People had ample opportunity to debate and decide on our general direction. I hear tell that elections have consequences, though the large Democratic majority didn't feel compelled to ram anything through like, say...Republicans in Wisconsin.
Then Dr Hsiao presented his legislatively-mandated report in January of this year. We had 15 days to comment on the draft.
H.202 was introduced to the House on February 8, and proceeded to hang out in the Health Care Committee for 40 days and 40 nights (or thereabouts). There were more hearings. And more hearings. More venues for constituents to meet with their reps. Plenty more time to call them, write to them, send letters to the editor.
The bill passed out of committee in mid-March and didn't move to the Senate until the end of the month.
This has been a marathon, and our folks have trained long and hard. Reform opponents are acting like Rosie Ruiz, showing up at the finish line then having the gall to complain about not getting a medal.
April 1, 2011 | Permalink
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