Letter: Silence on Health Care Funding

Silence on Health-Care Funding

To the Editor:

I am in full agreement about the merits and need for health-care reform. But I don’t understand why an agrarian state and the second least populated with a somewhat dismal business reputation had to go down the road to universal single-payer health care. Gov. Shumlin, in this matter I fear you have fallen victim to what I call the Selfish Leader Syndrome. Thinking entirely of your career, you remain completely silent about how you are funding Green Mountain Care. You are putting your personal hopes of winning the next election ahead of informing the public.

Many commend you on your State of the State address regarding heroine abuse and acknowledging that we have a school budget crisis. Vermont has one of the highest debt burdens in the country, and yet Vermonters deserve an honest economic explanation for how you propose to pay for universal health care. The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan organization, in its 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index, ranks Vermont 45th (50 being least favorable). Now add to this that old adage that business does not like uncertainty.

Your silence is helping to promote uncertainty and continues to make the state less appealing for new business. I don’t think a lot of employers and individuals balk at paying a little more to strengthen the coverage pool, but your ongoing silence and avoidance of talking about the larger details is creating fears of huge tax augmentation for the post-November season. Your secrecy is reminiscent of ideologues intent on holding onto power in order to enhance their departing legacy, and in your case, leaving Vermonters in expensive dust.

Please speak up and explain this system to us and give us some credit. You were directly asked at a Woodstock Town Meeting about funding, and you answered that you did not wish to talk about it. I gather this is a favorite phrase of yours. Your silence is slowly seeping through our Green Mountain paradise and gently tarnishing it from within.

Alixandra Klingenstein

South Pomfret