Treasurer Candidates Spar Over Health Care Policy
10/26/12 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel
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The campaign for Treasurer this year is the most contentious statewide race. On Friday, the candidates met in one of their final debates of the campaign and they used the forum as a way to sharply criticize each other.
Incumbent Democratic Treasurer Beth Pearce supports Governor Peter Shumlin's plan to implement a single payer health care system in Vermont because she thinks it will help contain costs and provide universal access.
Her Republican challenger, Wendy Wilton, doesn't support single payer because Wilton says this approach is likely to bankrupt the state.
Pearce said Wilton's analysis is premature, biased and not based on any real facts.
"When you make comments such as ‘the Governor must be reading from the Sandinista playbook as he has proposed a huge stealth tax increase on Vermont's middle class," said Pearce. "These are statements you made as a candidate before a funding plan has even been produced. You have a predisposition toward ideological battles that do no belong in the Treasurer's office."
Wilton says she opposes single payer because of financial concerns, not ideology, and she said Pearce hasn't done her homework on this issue.
"It's interesting that you mention that. At least I've done the math. Beth you know you're out there supporting a political position strictly political position on health care that you're fully supportive of single payer," said Wilton. "But you have not a shred of due diligence to back up that opinion. So I think of the two of us, at least I've done some due diligence."
Progressive Don Schramm is a strong supporter of single payer and he also backs the creation of a Vermont State Bank.
"There's 17 other states at this moment at different stages of creating their own state bank and I think that we should look into this," said Schramm. "Explore the possibility thoroughly because it's one of the very best ways we can invest some of the state money locally. Too much of the state's money now is going out of the state."
Lawmakers are scheduled to get a report during the 2013 session that outlines the pros and cons of creating a state bank in Vermont.