Tag Archives: Hamilton Davis

Shumlin doubles down on bashing fellow Democrats

If you thought there was a chance that Governor Shumlin would tone down his insistence on last-minute spending cuts, well, think again. Earlier, he’d called two key Senate committee chairs on the ceremonial carpet to argue for tax reductions and spending cuts — in a spending bill that had already passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. This didn’t go over well with Democxratic lawmakers, per Paul Heintz:

Gov. Peter Shumlin’s erstwhile allies in the Democratic legislature lashed out at him Thursday for pushing new cuts after the Senate Appropriations Committee signed off on the budget.

“It’s insulting to the process,” complained one top Dem.

… “It’s been pretty lonely in there all winter,” Sen. Bobby Starr (D-Essex/Orleans) said, referring to the Appropriations Committee, on which he serves. “I woulda thought they would’ve been in at least a month ago, if not five, six weeks ago, offering some suggestions.”

House Majority Leader Sarah Copeland Hanzas noted that the House-passed tax and spending bills actually called for less spending than the Governor’s original budget plan. She called the gubernatorial disconnect “perplexing.”

Welp, the Governor is unbowed by all the pushback.

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So, maybe health care reform is working?

For those of us who practice compassionate liberalism (which is actually a thing, unlike compassionate conservatism), the primary reason for health care reform is to ensure that everyone can access the services they need. But reform isn’t going to work unless it meets another goal: containing the costs of health care, which were out of control under the old system.

And here’s some good news on the green-eyeshade front, courtesy of VPR:

Vermont’s 14 hospitals have submitted budgets for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 that increase by just 2.6 percent over the current year’s budgets, the smallest annual increase for the Vermont health care delivery system in four decades.

… The 2.6 percent inflation figure follows on the heels of a 2.7 percent jump in the current year. Taken together, the performance of the hospital system should be considered a positive augury in the coming debate over Gov. Peter Shumlin’s single-payer reform initiative.

Kudos to VPR’s Hamilton Davis for slipping “positive augury” into his script. Few radio reporters would dare so much.

Anyway, yeah, two consecutive years of low cost increases for Vermont hospitals. In fact, as Davis reports, those increases are roughly one-third the rate of increase since the year 2000. And this year’s figures came in under the Green Mountain Care Board’s target of 3 percent. GMCB chair Al Gobeille pronounced himself “very pleased” with the submissions.

It’s still early days in health care reform, but something is obviously working. And this is a “positive augury” because state law requires the government to demonstrate an ability to control costs in order for Governor Shumlin’s single-payer health plan to go forward. So far, so good.