If there is one issue that unites Vermont’s Democrats and Republicans, it is the need to make affordable health care available to everyone. Governor Shumlin has a plan that attempts to provide medical insurance to all (Shumlincare), but the vast cost of the plan puts Republicans and a few Democrats in the position of opposing the plan.
Shumlincare will costs upwards of $3 billion; divided by Vermont’s 625,000 residents that’s $4,800 each. So for a family of four, that’s $19,000. One proposal that surfaced this year was a payroll tax of 14 percent; 2 percent for the employees, and 12 percent on the employers. For someone earning $45,000 a year, that’s an annual insurance fee of $900 for the employee and $5,400 for the employer. Who’d turn that down? Unfortunately, that’s a drop in the bucket towards raising $3 billion. Remember, it’s $4,800 per year per person.
So when doing the math, do all the math. Shumlin did, and he’s afraid to tell us his numbers. When he finally reveals, maybe the realization will set in that his tax plan is unthinkable. Then maybe Montpelier can get down to business reducing the costs of medical care. There are plenty of ways to do it; we just have to change the political focus.
Finally, when a politician says they fully support Shumlincare, ask them if they ran the numbers before pledging their support — if they did, ask for the figures. If they didn’t, and they’re just waiting to get Shumlin’s figures, I’d question the value of their representation in Montpelier.
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