Daily Archives: January 26, 2016

The Governor gives the Republicans a ready-made campaign slogan

Hey, remember last Friday, when Governor Shumlin had to walk back a budget-cutting proposal he’d made less than 24 hours earlier?

Yeah, embarrassing and sad. I mean, how many people looked over the text of his budget address and didn’t realize that “cutting benefits to poor pregnant women” might cause a kerfuffle? Even if the cuts are counterbalanced by new benefits, that’s the worst possible topline for a sales pitch.

Well, maybe second worst to “confiscating crutches from crippled kids,” or possibly “Scrooge was right the first time,” but I digress.

Shumlin rolled out his kneecap-the-preggers initiative on Thursday, and took it back during a Friday appearance on VPR’s “Vermont Edition.” And just in case the abandonment itself wasn’t bad enough, he went and said this. For real.

“I don’t want to use this as a way to cost pregnant women more money,” the governor said on the program. “I said to my team this morning, ‘Listen there’s plenty of ways to save money in the budget. Go back to the Legislature and give them alternatives of other ways to make savings.’”

Wait, what?

“There’s plenty of ways to save money in the budget”?????????


This, from a guy in his sixth year as governor, whose tenure has been marked by penny-pinching and an absolute refusal to raise “broad-based taxes” (as he himself defines the term)?

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The problem with Shumlin’s latest brainstorm

On Monday, the Shumlin administration unveiled its proposed all-payer system, which would supposedly remove the perverse incentives driving up health care costs and, as the Governor is fond of saying, “pay our docs and our nurses and our health care providers for keeping us healthy, not for the fee-for-service system that we currently have.”

Sounds like a plan. But is it?

I’ll tell you this. If I was a doctor and the Shummy system goes into effect, I’m going to stop seeing overweight patients. Because contrary to the Governor’s sunny prescription…

“… doctors and hospitals would receive a set of payments for frankly keeping us alive and healthy and feeling good,” he said. “Obviously that puts huge priority on preventive care, on eating right, on exercising, on getting off the smokes, on doing all of the things that we know we should be doing.”

… the truth is, obesity is almost incurable. It doesn’t matter how much prevention and wellness support you provide, the vast majority of overweight people are never going to lose significant amounts of weight.

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