Bernie Sanders whips up his audiences with promises of freebies, all funded by taxing the bejesus out of those 536 American billionaire puppet masters. One of his promises is “single payer” healthcare.
Three thoughts come to mind:
- Is Bernie admitting that ObamaCare is failure?
- Has Bernie looked at the VA scandal and thought, gee, maybe government monopolies are ripe for corruption, incompetence, bureaucratic bloat and lack of accountability?
- Does Bernie remember that his home state of Vermont tried to do “single payer” and failed?
Vermont was supposed to be the beacon for a single-payer health care system in America. But now its plans are in ruins, and its onetime champion Gov. Peter Shumlin may have set back the cause.
Advocates of a “Medicare for all” approach were largely sidelined during the national Obamacare debate. The health law left a private insurance system in place and didn’t even include a weaker “public option” government plan to run alongside more traditional commercial ones.
So single-payer advocates looked instead to make a breakthrough in the states. Bills have been introduced from Hawaii to New York; former Medicare chief Don Berwick made it a key plank of his unsuccessful primary race for Massachusetts governor.
Vermont under Shumlin became the most visible trailblazer. Until Wednesday, when the governor admitted what critics had said all along: He couldn’t pay for it.
“It is not the right time for Vermont” to pass a single-payer system, Shumlin acknowledged in a public statement ending his signature initiative. He concluded the 11.5 percent payroll assessments on businesses and sliding premiums up to 9.5 percent of individuals’ income “might hurt our economy.”
Vermont’s outcome is a “small speed bump,” said New York Assembly member Richard Gottfried, who’s been pushing single-payer bills for more than 20 years. But opponents says it’s the end of the road.
“If cobalt blue Vermont couldn’t find a way to make single-payer happen, then it’s very unlikely that any other state will,” said Jack Mozloom, spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business.