Dear Mr. President,
It’s not easy putting yourself out there, expressing your beliefs, offering your ideas on how to move this country forward, but you’re doing it. I want you to know that you’re not alone… Two Governors have now proposed establishing single-payer health plans in their states… Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana.
Although there are significant legal challenges ahead, it is clear that both of these Governors are dedicated to doing what is best for their states, their people and employers. Both states would of course have to ask for waivers to opt out of the Affordable Care Act, which you signed in 2010.
You can well imagine how the insurance companies will react to these bills, because they will stop at nothing, and spend whatever it takes to defeat any proposed single-payer plans. In Vermont alone, insurers will lose 625,000 residents’ health care premiums and their profits. It would also sever ties in the state between employment and health care, putting no health insurance mandate on employers. Insurers cannot afford to let even one state succeed in implementing single-payer, because it wouldn’t be long before all states and employers would be demanding it.
So while all the Republicans are yapping about ‘big gov’mint’ and returning the power to the states… here are two Governors proposing just that. In this case I’m all for it, because if it passes, and it would, it would be the first significant step towards a national single-payer plan, which is what you wanted in the first place.
I remember when the tobacco industry yelled and screamed when states first started proposing laws than banned smoking in restaurants and bars, saying that they would lose business, people would go to places where they could smoke… etc… etc… That scare tactic only worked for so long, because in fact, the smoking ban was actually good for business. The people who didn’t smoke simply stayed away from smoking establishments, choosing to stay home instead.
My question today Mr. President is: Will you support Govs. Shumlin and Schweitzer’s request to opt out of the Affordable Care Act and allow them to implement a single-payer system in their state? I can’t think of a better end run around our Republican lead Congress then to circumvent them at every possible opportunity.
So by putting themselves out there… Govs. Shumlin and Schweitzer are leading the way for real health care reform, and I hope they can count on your support in their efforts on behalf of the citizens of Vermont and Montana. Then we’ll see who’s next.
Your Gadfly Granny