Yet Another Shumlin Fail

This is not Peter Shumlin’s finest hour.

Having built much of his base by embracing single payer as the ultimate model for Vermont’s healthcare future, it appears  he has now painted himself into a corner.  

One might almost accuse him of magical thinking, having refused to even consider the possibility of raising revenue for any reason through tax increases levied on those most able to contribute.

Anyone could have predicted that there would be upfront costs to hurdle in making the transition to single payer, even though a well-run program would ultimately mean savings for everyone.

Way back to his first gubernatorial primary, he gained on Doug Racine primarily by promising to deliver single payer. Racine wouldn’t make any such promise, acknowledging that it wouldn’t be simply a matter of waving hands and making it happen.

That honesty probably cost him the primary, and we have seen the disappointments unfold as Shumlin’s campaign promises have faded, one by one, in the cold light of daily governing.

An all or nothing kind of guy?  It sounds like Shumlin has just given up on the idea altogether because it can’t be done without asking for sacrifices from the moneyed class.

It’s not a matter of avoiding injury to the economic sensitivities of the wealthy so that they will generously donate employment opportunities to the less privileged!

It is they who benefit most from a well-run economy that keeps labor healthy and fully employed so that the working class is able to buy the goods and services provided by those in the profit class.

This is not just a betrayal of the coalition of Democratic talent that originally set aside their differences to put Shumlin in the governor’s seat; it is a betrayal of the promise Vermont held out to lead the nation as a model for a functioning single payer system.

To take the position that this cannot succeed in the U.S. is to say that we are incapable of doing something that every other advanced nation has managed to do.

There is no lack of resources in the nation or even in the state to make this happen.  Over the past few years, corporations and the wealthiest class have seen unprecedented income growth.  There is so much money out there, that in some cases, they literally don’t know what to do with it; thus the rise of venture capitalism and exotic “investment” products.

It is shameful that the governor has been unable or unwilling to convince his own class to step-up and make a real contribution to the cost of establishing a well-run single payer health system.  At the very least, his promises obligated him to make that appeal.

Instead he has stuck with a version of the Reaganomic argument that says the rich can’t “bear” any additional taxation.

Peter Shumlin has squandered his opportunity to lead Vermont into a visionary future where it might have flourished in the economic afterglow, attracting progressive enterprises and talented new residents to reinvigorate our little state.

What a pity!

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

26 thoughts on “Yet Another Shumlin Fail

  1. Got to wonder if he would have stuck with the single payer fight longer if he hadn’t been so battered by the recent election.He let himself get sideswiped in the election and now we pay for it by losing an opportunity for single payer.  

  2. and subsequent chatter.  I have now added that link to my diary where I first refer to “single payer.”

    Thanks, Stardust!

  3. would have resulted in a different Governor.  And rightfully so.  It is a shame we can’t find a way to push corporate moles out of the arena of public good.

  4. Having built much of his base by embracing single payer as the ultimate model for Vermont’s healthcare future, it appears  he has now painted himself into a corner.

    None of this passes the smell or straight face test. I believe sharp-elbowed Shummy knew all along & increased the ‘keep alive’ window to drag it through election cycles knowing full well what the numberes were & represented. We’re being greatly decieved imho. Following the failed attempt to shove Medicare, Tricare & VA he had to have known. That this was dragged to the end of the line was by design.  

    This is good stuff. I’ve watched w/great interest partly for the drama of it all. Helps to have an animated mind. Enter stage left – exit stage right. And Kabuki theater at its finest. The silly snaking subterfuge is high art. Not fooled folks! Campbells last session squeamishness was a monumental marker. Though I’m alone here at GMD on this, I believe alleged malfeasance is a worthy reason to shitcan Shummy & he would not be the first.

    We are at a crossroads & I personally believe a Shummy vote from lawmakers will sink political futures dragging them all down like a boat anchor if he makes it. Look at the losses already. I can count three off the top of my head that were shoe-ins. If so — I predict a reign of the right for possibly a decade.

    If VT news wasn’t so far to the left this would be a big story. Instead it’s “move along folks, nothing to see here” as Team Shummy attempts to control the narrative & teachers-pet suckups write about his decision describing him as a hero. Having a career in news only teaches one ever more clever ways to fool the public & pull the wool over the eyes of Vermonters. Not a resume-builder imho.

    And yes an investigation if for no other reason than to track the mountains of money spent as these bureaucratic functionaries have lived high of the VT hog long enough. No fully functioning website … still??? Heads haven’t rolled – still??? But they’re all one big happy fam. I’m expecting panoramic montages of “parting shots” and a guest book signing for this failure of epic proportion. This would be perverse but I must say I’m rather pissed.

    Recall the weasel-words which have not changed ‘if it hurts VTers we won’t do it’. H  uh, an odd choice of words for a health care rollout. The numbers crunched by Hsaio’s study from U of MA or MIT have not changed except to increase if anything. Wendy Wilton also must have known knew years ago. Gailbraith also spelled the words correctly. So now $400 million down the toilet, then another $400 M, tyvm — cha-ching!

    Soo, the ever-shifting dates for its release seemingly appeared as a cat-and-mouse w/the likes of Ms. Browning D-Arlington & Wendy Wilton and her never-wavering numbers appeared to detect the cat in Shummy’s bag which is why I believe House Rep Browning could so boldly call Shummy on the carpet amidst what now appear as pie-in-the-sky lies.  

    $400 M for Gruber & his “think tank” & “team” of “grad students”, heh, plus $180-something million prior to say nothing about the shiny new state-of-the-art website. VT is becoming a get-rich-quick-scheme. We love being rolled with neverending financial punches. It’s great cardio! Put “Tumbling Dice” on VT license plates, next to our ‘Live Free or Die” neighbors. Mafia learned long ago more could be stolen w/briefcase than gun & blindfold. Empty the prisons — they’re petty-crim half-pinters by comparison.

    Scott nor Douglas want Milne in as he would disrupt the orderly progression & succession of “whos turn it is”. To hell with tradition, customs & the old-boy bullshit. Were not some southern backwater … or are we … We would not have gay marriage, sufferage, civil rights for women minorities if we stuck w/tradition & I’d have no recourse short of throwing dishes to defend myself in marriage, feistiness would have gotten me buried in the backyard long ago.  

    Last year’s state-of-state a huge snowjob & smokescreen pointing the finger at the opium addiction supposedly being caused by teens in grandmas medicine cabinet. Slick! This load of crap made nationwide news & Shummy was lauded as a hero, surely he must still be chuckling at that one. Now all those who take scheduled meds are under a cloud of suspicion & piss-tested randomly & routinely. Insurance pays for all this. Rolling Stone story appeared shortly thereafter to add an air of legitimicy to this huge hoax.

    There are not enough opiate users in the state to supply the addiction. I see some common sense missing here. Gee, grandma never missed those pain meds?. I take gabapentin for chronic pain & I sure would miss it if any ‘disappeared’.

    And it is heroin that’s the prob. Perhaps we should cease standing sentry over the Afghan poppy fields & manufacturing ever more potent supposed “pain killers”. My, my,fentanyl ods??? Really??? There are few legitimate uses for this drug outside a hospital setting.  That comes from a bit higher up the food chain, so the diversion, esp in the amounts & frequency we’re discovering its widish-pread use is not from patients.    

    What will it take to go after he real criminals, a wave of propafol & demerol ods??? Oh, but we’re told it is used to boost the effects of the H-ball, never mind the real question — where are they getting it … Pain patches? Uh huh. That’s a lotta “pain patches” & not easy to extract for the boot.


  5. Vermont has paid MIT economist Jonathan Gruber $160,000 of a contract that was reduced to a maximum of $280,000. The University of Massachusetts has a contract with a $317,000 maximum, on which Vermont has paid $151,000 to date


    The $1.6 million includes the $300,000 Vermont paid to UMass and Wakely Consulting for the 2013 report, the $445,000 spent on contractors thus far for the current report and $900,000 in compensation for the state’s team working on the project.

    my comments emphasis added:

    So now $400 million down the toilet, then another $400 M,

    Should be hundreds of thousands, not millions. Sorry folks just not very good when it comes to breathtaking amounts of zeros. Buts it’s still a lot of cha-chingy!

    “I do expect some increased costs in the second half of this fiscal year,” resulting from the additional work created by manual processes and increased security demands from the feds, he said. Miller did not have an estimate of the overage, but said VHC’s request at budget adjustment won’t be “massive,” he said.

    He had previously said that in a worst case scenario the adjustment could be as high as $20 million.

    I just don’t get how it can be said a $20 million bill VT is on the hook for hook for w/no help from the Feds is not “massive” on top of what has been paid out already which is still hundreds of millions. What is their def of “massive”??? This is a complete outrage to say the very least. Stuck, stoned, snucked & f’ked…  

  6. Will this announcement convince more than a few Ps and P-leaning Ds to change their vote from Shumlin to Milne in the upcoming session?

    My argument would be that if this admission were made before the election, Shumlin would have lost more than the eventual difference between the two candidates in votes from people who thought they were voting for the candidate who would keep Single-payer alive.

  7. Sue, what was the fuss about the Workers Center protest sign that showed Shumlin with a Pinocchio Nose?–Some people have told me it was more of a 1930s Nazi Jewish nose than a Pinocchio nose.

  8. Of all the lying sleazebags I came in contact with in the legislature since ’98, Shumlin is right up there.  This last year, he lied about GMO labeling–taking all the credit for it when, while he was in the Senate and I was at RURAL VERMONT, he consistently let us, the farmers for it, and other anti-GMO groups down.  

    So, back in 2010, in order to squeak by Racine, he lied about how he would address Single Payer once Governor.  He LIED.  And he LIED AGAIN this year about Single Payer And GMO LABELING, AND BARELY SQUEAKED (SLEAZED) BY!  He is a LIAR.  He never intended to do Single Payer–it was just for votes.

    Anyone defending him is a liar too.  This is about a RICH DEM GOVERNOR working for business and the rich.  Aren’t all you Little Dems ashamed?

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