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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Let the Games Begin!

Sen_protem_ps The second-half of the Legislative biennium begins next week, but Putney Pete [right] is hosting his own "informal" kick-off this afternoon.

Oh, boy!

For Immediate Release                                 
January 2, 2008   

Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin will discuss Senate priorities for the upcoming legislative session with the press today.  The format of this press conference will be an informal question and answer session preceded by a brief introduction from Senator Shumlin.

WHAT:  Conversation with the press about priorities for the upcoming legislative session

WHEN:  Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008 at 1:00 pm

WHERE:  Cedar Creek Room, Vermont State House


Yo, Shummy!

If you really wanted to hold an "informal" Q&A "conversation" with the press, why would you convene your presser in the extra-formal Cedar Creek Room where everyone has to stand the whole time?

Why not a little sit-down around the table session?

A little back-and-forth?

Wonder if Sen. Shumlin's sensing what most of us are sensing: that more and more folks in this state have had it with the zooming, out-of-control costs and deteriorating results of our healthcare system? Sure most of us have "insurance" coverage, but it comes with increasingly rising deductibles and co-pays.

Guv_douglas Maybe Shummy also realizes that the great compromise the majority Democrats made with Republican Gov. Jim Douglas [left], the champion and protector of the private insurance industry, to come up with the Catamount Plan, is little more than a band-aid applied to a gaping wound.

Gov. Scissorhands has a presser of his own scheduled for Thursday.

A lot of folks are not going to sit quietly while the healthcare cookie continues to crumble.

In fact, some have started up a new activist group on the healthcare front.

It's called Take Back Vermont Healthcare and they plan on rallying under the Golden Dome on Wednesday January 9 to remind lawmakers of the reality out there on the healthcare front lines:

According to the Vermont Senate’s leader, Peter Shumlin, the next legislative session starting Jan. 8 has three goals, and one of them is health care. What this means to him is a better insurance “product” for small businesses. The problem is this is just more of  the Legislature’s “reforms” in 2006. They don’t apply to all Vermonters -  just some. They are not systematic or universal and because they aren’t they can’t hold down costs. They are sold to the public as a way for savings through better technology and “healthier living.” Well, we don’t have the technology, it costs too much, and no one has explained how, in real terms, they are going to make Vermonters live “healthier.”  Nowhere to be found in the Senate leader’s agenda is H.304 (the Vermont Hospital Security Plan). H.304 is systematic, is universal,  actually saves money, costs less and gives us all help with medical bills.

More here on their new website.

Some folks just won't take "no" for an answer.



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Why doesn't Shumlin propose that Douglas be stripped of his taxpayer-funded health care benefits and instead be forced to fend for himself and Dorothy like many other Vermonters? Douglas has been slurping at the public trough for 30-some years now. His problem is he's so disconnected from Vermonters employed by the private sector (which Douglas appears to love madly)that he has no clue what the reality of the situation truly is. Douglas needs a reality check!

Reality Check?

"Douglas has been slurping at the public trough for 30-some years now. His problem is he's so disconnected from Vermonters employed by the private sector . . ."

And the same criticism could be made of Sen. Sanders.


tom the same could be said for Bernie or Pat, but since Vt seems incapable of voting out an incubent I would plan for Douglas to be around for a while.

As for Shamlin's presser.....If the name of this legislative session is cooperation as the three stooges in Montpelier claim, why is Shumlin releasing his priorities before DOuglas has given his State of the State? Doesn't sound like cooperation, more like a repeat of the last session. Can't wait to see what they DON'T accomplish this session.


I'm pretty sure Bernie would support universal health care, or some version of it, but Douglas seems quite resistant to the idea. Trying to cast Bernie in the same light as Douglas (with respect to health care issues) is ludicrous, no matter how much you loathe Bernie.


Anybody who thinks Vermont can be the one and only state to provide universal state-run health care is dreaming. We ain't got the money, and if we did offer it, sick people would flock to Vermont and overwhelm the system.

Health care can only be solved at the national level. I'm voting for Hillary, but any Democratic presidential candidate will do.


tom, you are correct you can not compare Bernie and Jim when it comes to their views on health care. In regards to their slurping at the public trough though.......

One thing that really bothers me in these discussions is the use of the term health care as a replacement for health insurance. It is not the same issue. Everyone has access to health care, not everyone has access to health insurance.

"Sure most of us have "insurance" coverage, but it comes with increasingly rising deductibles and co-pays."

And lets think about who gets to pick up this rise in costs. If it isn't the consumer it will be the state. Either the public pays or the state pays which means the public pays. Something the left will never figure out is that just because it comes out of the state coffers doesn't change the fact that the people scraping by will still be paying for it.

Reality Check?

"Douglas has been slurping at the public trough for 30-some years now. His problem is he's so disconnected from Vermonters employed by the private sector . . ."

Tom, this was the comment you made . . . Slurping is slurping, regardless of whether you're slurping from the left side or the right side of the trough.

I've seen the above comment, in one form or another, made about Douglas numerous times now, and I find it annoying. I don't like career politicians, either; but only attacking politicians on the Right for being "careerists" is not fair. A career politician is a career politician. If you don't like career politicians, get rid of ALL of them.

Let's have term limits.

Liza Earle

The public does pay either way. The question is: should we continue to pay into the current system where our money go towards record profits by the insurance company and high deductibles, or should our money go towards paying for actual care that covers EVERYONE, not just some.

We're already paying this money, but we're paying more than we need to, and many people are not getting care. H.304 takes the middle man out of the cycle and makes sure the hospitals get their bills paid and that every Vermonter gets care there when they need it.

It brings up a lot of good questions and everyone interested should come to a presentation on H.304. As a doctor, Deb Richter, understands the system more than most of us. She has a fantastic presentation and knows the bill inside and out.

Saturday January 12th, 7pm
Richmond Free Library
Dr. Deb Richter presents:

Hospital coverage for all Vermonters:
The Vermont Hospital Security Plan H.304

You are welcome to come early for a showing of the film Sicko (4pm) and/or a potluck (7pm).

Liza Earle

Correction: The potluck on Jan. 12th begins at 6pm.


It's not all that rosy even if you work for a company that can provide reduced rates.

I have coverage via employer. I payed $1850 in 2007 for coverage for self+1. Same coverage in 2008 is $2200. That's about a 20% increase. This does not account for the fact that co-pays also went up. I have not yet heard about drug prices. Who knows how the total increase will pan out. We experienced the same type of yearly increase over the last 5 years.

Health insurance expenses are the fastest growing cost component for employers. And this is mitigated by passing most of the cost increases off onto employees. Since 2000, employee share of premiums have gone up by 143%, while total premiums have increased by 87%.

Straight facts?

Drives me crazy when I hear about the health insurance companies that are getting rich. If I'm not mistaken over half the people in this country are covered by non profit insurance companies.
I hear the same retortic about drug companies. I have stock in of the largest in the world. They have been paying a dividend of about 5% for the past 6 years and the price of the stock hasn't changed much in the last 10 years.
If the health insurance companies and drug companies were making as much as people like to say, why is it that Vermont's retirement investments aren't into them in a heavy way?


Ughhhhhhh, great idea start a "discussion" by showing the film Sicko. That's like starting a climate change debate with the film An Inconvient Truth. It is clear which side this presentation is favoring without having to go sit through Slob Moores biased allegations and opinions under the guise of a documentary.

As for health INSURANCE increases....what do you expect when you limit competition. What do you expect when the more and more people switch to medicare/medicaid which does pay the full amount. That cost has to go somewhere. Further, I am offered insurance for free through my employer, but in no uncertain terms it SUCKS. So I buy my my own health insurance so that it actually covers something. What happens when it turns out the state run health insurance coverage sucks and all we are left with is the option to continue with crappy insurance or the choice to pay for it twice.

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