Shumlin Applauds Court Decision, While Critics Warn About Costs
06/28/12 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel
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"Let's hear it for the United States Supreme Court," Governor Peter Shumlin shouted out to a group of single payer advocates in Montpelier shortly after the decision on the Affordable Care Act was announced.
"All I can say is we are just warming up. That's our message," said Shumlin. "Vermont is going to be the first state in the country to be a place where health care is a right and not a privilege."
The governor then walked over to a press briefing with reporters. He said the ruling is very good news for the state.
"Here's what matters. Vermonters - good news. $400 million of federal money to help you pay for insurance you can't afford," said the Governor. "Hundreds of millions of dollars of federal money to help us build the system we need to have the first thoughtful single payer health care system in America."
Anya Rader-Wallack is the chairwoman of the Green Mountain Care Board - the group that oversees virtually every aspect of health care in the state. She was pleased by the Court's decision.
"We can now move ahead with greater certainty about the framework laid out by the feds and the resources provided by them to expand coverage and implement other parts of our health reform plan."
The Court's ruling means that health care will be a key issue in this year's gubernatorial race. Republican candidate Randy Brock thinks there are still too many unanswered questions about Shumlin's plan:
"We're moving forward full speed ahead in "Titanic-care" towards the fog, towards these objects in the water that are below the surface that our Captain who's piloting the ship doesn't seem to see," said Brock. " And I'm concerned that we're going to hit that iceberg and sink."
Jeff Wennberg is the director of Vermonters For Health Care Freedom - a group that's opposed to the Governor's single payer plan. He predicts that public support for Shumlin's approach will diminish once the financing details have been worked out.
"If all the public has heard is all the utopian messages about the wonderful benefits of this, which we challenge as well, and they've never even had a conversation about how we're going to pay for it or what it's going to cost," said Wennberg. " Then it just seems to me that there's bound to be serious erosion in support for this once the full story gets told."
The Court's decision also means that Vermont will receive additional federal funds to build several new community health centers in areas of the state that have a shortage of primary care services.