Health Care: A Challenge and an Opportunity
It's a travesty that this nation has not had a health policy that ensures that we all have access to high quality care. Sadly, even after all of the sound and fury in Washington, it's clear that the cost of health care will continue to increase at seriously frightening rates, and people will still be deprived of quality, affordable care -- unless we, in the states, do something about it.
Vermont is a small state with hardworking, intelligent citizens, and a history of leading the way. With Peter Shumlin in the Governor's office, Vermont could create a system of public financing of health care that would provide all Vermonters with quality, affordable health care and eliminate the administrative waste of the current system that goes into paperwork and profits, not health care. Vermont can and should be a leader again. By doing so we would unleash the largest economic development program in our state's history. Tens of thousands of jobs would be created as a result of businesses being freed from the yoke of rising health care costs, giving them an enormous incentive to set up shop in a state that is truly and uniquely business-friendly.
Peter worked with Howard Dean to make Vermont the first state in the nation to extend health care coverage to all pregnant women and all of Vermont's children. Peter also worked closely with Howard Dean to pass the first mental health parity bill in the nation.
Peter was one of the sponsors of the original S.88, which would have committed the state to a single payer system and set up a process for designing and implementing it. A single payer system is the most fiscally responsible and conservative way to create universal access to health care in Vermont. By eliminating the profits and paperwork of insurance companies and pooling our funds, we can support a health care infrastructure that is accessible and available to everyone, and that is rational and controls costs. During the most recent legislative session, Peter worked to strengthen S. 88, ensuring that the legislation doesn't just produce another useless study, but lays the groundwork for real progress next year.
The Future: Extending Coverage
As Governor, Peter would look at health care as an economic issue. We need to completely reform health care to avoid the looming cost increases, save our health care system, and properly take care of all Vermonters. Peter will also look at it as a way to unleash our own economic stimulus and job creation program. Getting health care off the backs of our employers is one of the most important things we can do to get back on the path of prosperity and economic health.
Health care is now crushing our businesses, families, schools, property taxes, and state budget. As Governor, Peter would work to create an economic environment in Vermont that attracts employers, truly supports our small businesses, and makes Vermont an even more attractive place in which to do business. Companies want to cover their employees and not go broke in the process. In this regard, health care in Vermont needs to follow each Vermonter, regardless of employer. This approach would put an end to Vermonters making unhappy employment choices simply to get health care. It would also end the horror of losing health care coverage if you were to lose your job.
Dealing with an issue of this magnitude will take major-league leadership. As Governor, Peter will work with President Obama and our Congressional delegation (the best in the country) to make Vermont the small rural state that partners with the federal government to create a better health care model for the future. Let's show the rest of the country how it can be done!