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Friday, December 01, 2006

Jim Douglas: Healthcare Reformer?

I know. Y'all thought that House Speaker Gaye Symington and the Democrats were the ones behind healthcare reform, right?


The edition of AARP's monthly magazine that arrived in U.S. mailboxes yesterday gave that honor to Republican Governor Jim Douglas:

Putting health care before politics

Sometimes politicians can rise above politics. That certainly was the case this year in Vermont, where no one expected much from the state government. With a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature, gridlock seemed inevitable. But in May, after two years of negotiations, Governor Jim Douglas signed groundbreaking legislation that makes affordable health insurance available to everyone in the state. The new universal health care law, considered the most progressive in the country, also includes a series of cost-saving reforms. It is particularly important in the Green Mountain State, which has 61,000 uninsured citizens and a growing senior population. While the bill was clearly a bipartisan effort, much of the credit goes to Douglas, 55, for refusing to give up. "This was such a key issue," he says. "The need was so great in terms of containing costs and providing coverage to uninsured Vermonters that we just couldn't fail."—Joe Treen

Refusing to give up, eh?


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Yea, thanks Governor Veto.


No matter how one might feel about either of them one way or another and also solely focusing on their issuing vetoes only, if memory serves me correctly, it seems to me that the title of Governor Veto would be more appropriately conveyed on and associated with the likes of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, rather than with Governor Jim Douglas.


Governor Jim Douglas signed groundbreaking legislation that makes affordable health insurance available to everyone in the state

In other news, the Easter Bunny was spotted lobbying against hunting season.

Liane Allen

Governor DoesLess strikes again - stealing credit for something he fought against tooth and nail. Ugh.

In the mean time, a snapshot of a day in an uninsured family:

I got a phone call today around 4:30. My husband was in a car accident - in a tiny Acura Integra, which encountered an SUV.

SUV bumpers are higher than passenger car bumpers.

The front of the car went under the SUV.

Think about how you would react as these images run through your mind, if you had no health insurance.

Did you catch your breath?


Every day, that's the tension felt by families all over this state and this country. But most are not so fortunate as to be able to walk away from it after a minute or two of reading.

Fortunately for us, no one was uninjured, because it was a low-speed impact, but a few miles per hour faster, and it would have been a much, much different story - the engine compartment was "pringled" and the car was totaled. If he'd gone another 12 inches under the SUV, he would have had the engine in his lap.

In one damp moment on a dark road, we came 12 inches from losing everything. We came 12 inches from facing a life of new and terrible choices: food or physical therapy, homelessness or hounding by bill collectors?

I'm so glad the governor is proud to have signed onto a health care bill that he fought every step of the way. I'm so glad that he's proud of a bill that was so loaded with compromises that it does nothing for families like mine. Maybe, if he views one healt care bill as an accomplishment, then next time he'll stand together with the people of Vermont and not only sign, but actually support a real health care bill, one that puts things like a critical 12 inches of roadway into the realm of a medical problem, instead of compounding it with the financial devastation that goes hand-in-hand with being uninsured on the wrong day.


It would be interesting to know how the AARP mag got its information.
I quit them a few years ago when the mag became the elderly version of People magazine.
And then AARP supported the infamous Part D disaster...

curious fellow

Who is on AARP's payroll, lobbying at the State House this year? Did they write/approve this?


Never forget that the membership of the AARP does not elect its President. The President is elected by a self-perpetuating board of directors, not a board elected by the membership. The AARP's Vermont leadership isn't elected by the Vermont's members, it's appointed by the unelected bureaucrats in Washington.

The current President of the AARP is a former Republican political operative. Hence AARP support for the Medicare drug ripoff. That may explain the National Magazine's embrace of Douglas.

AARP is a top down corporate/non-profit that makes far more of its budget from selling insurance than it does from membership fees. It's just a big insurance agency masquerading as a popular movement to sell more.

We left the AARP over the Part D sell-out and joined the Alliance for Retired Americans. It's really a movement with the leadership elected by and from the membership.

Green Mountain Boy

Jim Douglas is a consummate politician. How else do you explain his getting an award from the national AARP for Catamount Health, a bill he hated from the beginning, a bill the local AARP worked to pass, in spite of Douglas' persistent and mealymouthed efforts to stop it. Now, Douglas is featured sitting in front of a bunch of holsteins and talked about as if he was the prime mover and shaker. Did the man who is credited for being above partisan politics do anything to credit the legislature for the work they did to overcome Douglas' myopic, anemic and downright silly health care proposals? Nope. Not enough room in the AARP article for John Tracy or Jim Leddy or Gaye Symington or Peter Welch. We have an empty suit for a Governor. By taking credit for work that is in no way his, it tells us a lot about his character: ain't none. I hope the press will spend some time looking at the dismal record of his administration, and soon. He is a consumate politician, for sure. But beyond that, there's not much there, there.


Oh come on...Jimmy D deserves a lot of credit. Between he and our new Conressman, then Senate leader Peter Welch, they gutted the approach developed by the House Democrats, and in the name of passing a bill that the governor would sign, they gave a present to the private insurance companies and doomed most uninsured to continued lack of coverage. In fact, as Catamount get's rolled out, it won't be a surprise if people who were on VHAP get worse coverage for more money. The governor certainly should get all the credit he deserves. The only remaining question is why the Dem's decided to settle for a Republican program, and are they going to do anthing about it with their larger majority.


Right on, RedMike!

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