The Republicans are targeting potentially vulnerable Democratic lawmakers with a mailer repeating the conservative lie that the Shumlin Administration wants to “take over” Medicare.
I’ve seen two mailers, identical except for the specific candidates involved. One is for Addison County Republican hopeful Valerie Mullin, and it targets incumbent Dems Mike Fisher and David Sharpe. The other is on behalf of Republican John Mattison, who’s challenging incumbent Herb Russell of Rutland City.
The Mullin flyer bears the return address of “Friends of Valerie Mullin,” her campaign committee, but it clearly was not produced by her campaign because, as I said, it’s identical to the Mattison flyer.
I’ve only seen these two, but it wouldn’t surprise me if identical mailers hadn’t been sent in all districts where a Republican has a chance to knock off a Democratic lawmaker.
So let’s review. In Act 48, the 2011 health care reform bill, there was a provision calling for the state to pursue administration of Medicare as part of single-payer health care. This provision is what’s called “session law,” and was intended as a guideline rather than a mandate.
“In 2011, we asked the administration to entertain lots of things, but it was in the context of ‘tell us whether you can do this,’” said Rep. Mike Fisher (D-Lincoln), who was on the House Health Care Committee when it drafted Act 48.
Administration officials subsequently discovered that the feds wouldn’t allow Vermont to manage Medicare. It was impossible in any case, because Medicare for the entire Northeast is in a single administrative district. Vermont would have had to take over the entire region, which was clearly out of the question. This year, Act 48 was amended and the provision was dropped.
Which hasn’t stopped the desperate Republicans from repeating the lie. And now they’ve produced mailers trumpeting the lie.
Bottom of the barrel, guys. Bottom of the barrel.
Here’s a picture of one flyer, for your edification:
The Mullin flyer is identical except for the names of the candidates.