Below are excerpts from an editorial in the Rutland Herald and Times Argus:
An Early Test
As Peter Shumlin prepares to take office this week, a sampling of the challenges facing him will already have gathered at the Statehouse in Montpelier.
The Health Care Is a Human Right campaign is planning to stage a rally Wednesday, bringing together people from around the state to demand a single-payer health care system, the kind that Shumlin has said he supports.
Shumlin will be inaugurated as our next governor Thursday, and how he responds to the expectations of single-payer health care advocates will be an early test of his leadership.
Already he has accepted the premises of a single-payer system, and he has argued that cost savings achieved through single-payer would help solve Vermont’s budget dilemma.
The Health Care Is a Human Right campaign has done a good job of mobilizing Vermonters on behalf of health care reform and establishing the moral and practical imperatives of providing health care to all Americans as a public good, the way we provide education, roads or fire protection.
But getting there from here has always been the challenge for health care reform, and Shumlin is not unaware of the difficulties anyone would face in moving toward a single-payer system. That’s why he supported a measure in the Legislature last year initiating a study of Vermont’s health care system by one of the world’s leading health economists, William Hsiao of Harvard.
What Hsiao’s study can do is shed light on whether establishment of a single-payer system in short order is a real possibility and, if not, where the difficulties lie. Addressing difficulties squarely ought to be good for the political debate and for the ultimate outcome.
The Health Care Is a Human Right campaign has been one of the most effective grass-roots campaigns Vermont has experienced in recent years, grounded as it is in principles of economic and social justice. Organizers recognize that much must be done to redress the many economic inequities that are plaguing the nation.
Read the full editorial on the Vermont Workers' Center website.