Monday, January 12, 2015

Media Ignores Single-Payer Health Coverage in Vermont Again

There was a protest about Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s decision to back down on his promise to implement a Single Payer Health care system during his Inauguration.

He seems to have announced this decision after getting reelected but before being sworn in.

He didn't say, "Thanks for reelecting me but now that I'm in I no longer feel any obligation to keep my promises just like any other politician that caters to corporate interests."

That would have been to blatant; besides, there was no need for him to say it when people can figure these things out.

If I had relied on the traditional news media for information I probably wouldn't have known anything about it once again.

There was no coverage that I saw on the national media or even the local media which is relatively close to it. Fortunately I saw it on Democracy Now and decided to check see if there was any coverage at all. After searching for it I found some coverage about the issue but it wouldn't have drawn much attention to most people and some of the coverage that they do provide seems to be designed to strongly advocate against it.

They certainly don't tell the public that a portion of the money they pay for their premiums is used to lobby against a more efficient health care system and an even larger portion is used to buy an enormous amount of advertising on TV; which might provide the commercial media with an enormous incentive to ignore any positive coverage about Single Payer Health Care.

The following is one of the few excerpts that I did find about the protest:

Single-payer health backers disrupt Shumlin's inauguration 01/08/2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — More than 100 demonstrators rallied at the State House on Thursday — some disrupting the governor's inauguration — to let him know that they were upset with his decision not to ask lawmakers this year for a plan to pay for a new universal health care system.

Twenty-nine protesters were arrested on charges of unlawful trespass after they were asked to leave but didn't. Complete article

When searching for more information on the subject there is an enormous amount of information from the traditional press or, in some cases, alternative media outlets that are financed by the same sources but echo the traditional claims, that repeat the same claims over and over again even though they don't stand up to scrutiny if scrutiny is actually applied. One of the most common claims repeated over and over again is Vermont's Single Payer Health Care Plan Failed For One Big Reason: It Cost Too Much. This sounds good, as long as people don't think about some simple problems that would cause it to fall apart quickly.

Have you noticed how many advertisements on TV are for insurance, whether it is health care or not?

This costs an enormous amount of money.

If that money doesn't come from your premiums where could it possibly come from? And why would the people pay for it if they didn't think they could get their money back?

On top of that they spend an enormous amount of money donating to campaigns. If that money doesn't come from the premiums they collect where could the possibly get it?

I can't believe they routinely say to the customers, when they sell them policies, "Thank you for your business; I hope you don't mind but we intend to take a portion of the money from your premiums and use it to lobby your elected officials against your interests."

That would be quite audacious, kind of like Barack Obama's idea of "hope" and "change."

The vast majority of the public never even thinks about the fact that they pay for the speech that is used to influence their thinking whether they like it or not, although it is rarely ever directly and they have little or no influence over the speech they pay for. A more accurate description of Single-Payer Health Coverage is available for those that know where to look for it in places like Physicians for a National Health Program: Single-Payer National Health Insurance. Or a good comparison with the system in some of the developed world that already have a better system would also help but that isn't mentioned in the commercial media, which is getting a share of the loot the health care system is gouging out of the public, either.

This is similar to the massive advertising campaign that Monsanto came up with to convince people that labeling GMO food would drive up the cost dramatically without mentioning that the cost of the ads and the cost of lobbying against GMO labeling and regular deceptive ads are already being added on to the cost of food and these expenses are much less than the cost of labeling GMOs. In the case of the Health care system they don't tell people that the cost of treating people in emergency rooms, often at tax payer expense is also an enormous bureaucratic expense which has to be passed on to the public one way or another.

The only ones that lose if we took an accurate look at Single-Payer Health Coverage and sorted through the details would be insurance, pharmaceutical, hospital and media companies that are making enormous amounts of excessive profits for providing inferior care for the majority.

Right now Physicians for a National Health Program probably has among the most progressive people in the medical industry and they do a far better job educating the public about important health related issues than the traditional media or political system; however they're still a trade group made up of people in the industry and if there is more support for it there will almost certainly be more people from the medical community that might put their own interest first joining the bandwagon. This probably won't be a problem right away but there are other organizations that also include more diverse groups of people supporting Single-Payer Health Coverage like and some of the following organizations:

Free Speech TV: Single Payer Advocates Disrupt Vermont Gov. Shumlin’s Inauguration, 29 arrested 01/09/2015

Medicare for

The United Front Against Austerity: Medicare for All

Dr Bramhall brought the following article to my attention which is worth serious consideration and explains some of the details about why this fell through and how to avoid it in the future. It seems cynical, but the establishment routinely goes to enormous lengths to protect their preferential treatment at the expense of the majority and many of this is well documented, although it is often scattered where many people never hear about it.

What Happened in Vermont: Implications of the Pullback from Single Payer 01/10/2015

Gov. Peter Shumlin’s Dec. 17, 2014, announcement that he would not press forward with Vermont’s Green Mountain Care (GMC) reform arose from political calculus rather than fiscal necessity. GMC had veered away from a true single payer design over the past three years, forfeiting some potential cost savings. Yet even the diluted plan on the table before Shumlin’s announcement would probably have lowered total health spending in Vermont, while covering all of the state’s uninsured.


Decades of exemplary grassroots organizing (and strong labor union support) in Vermont put single payer on the agenda. During Shumlin’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, he promised to implement a single payer reform, which was a factor in the Progressive Party’s decision not to field a candidate. But the details of Shumlin’s plan weren’t fleshed out during the campaign. ....

An early signal of trouble was Shumlin’s appointment of Anya Rader Wallack to chair the new GMC board. Wallack had deep ties to the private insurance industry, having held key positions (including the presidency) at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. .....

1. Effective grassroots organizing makes a difference. ....

4. Beware of “experts” with a track record unsympathetic to single payer. Complete article Don't trust me to pick the best excerpts read the whole thing.

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