Single-payer health care dies in Vermont
This is just a temporary setback and minor embarrassment for socialized medicine – it’s going to be imposed on all of us, by force, soon enough. ObamaCare will collapse as planned by its designers, and we’ll be told total, direct government control over the medical industry is our only option. Every American should consider the fate of Vermont’s single-payer scheme as a teachable moment, and a warning, but it’s not going to get a whole lot of national media coverage. It will be spun the same way every leftist failure from Soviet communism on down has been spun: the wrong people tried it, at the wrong time.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin on Wednesday dropped his plan to enact a single-payer health care system in his state — a plan that had won praise from liberals but never really got much past the framework stage.
“This is not the right time” for enacting single payer, Shumlin said in a statement, citing the big tax increases that would be required to pay for it.
Shumlin faced deep skepticism that lawmakers could agree on a way to pay for his ambitious goal and that the feds would agree to everything he needed to create the first state-based single-payer system in 2017.
Big tax increases to pay for free medicine? Why, that doesn’t make any sense at all!
Vermont’s status as a little socialist paradise – the landlocked Cuba of the Northeast – seemed to make it an ideal laboratory for the great experiment in single-payer, but the small size of the laboratory proved to be its undoing. Socialism is a lie; it relies on deception and trickery to conceal its costs, fooling voters into surrendering their freedom in exchange for discounted goods that suddenly become far more expensive, once the need for deception ends. In a small state, it’s just too hard to use Jonathan Gruber’s tactics to bury the costs inside the folds of flab lapping over the government’s belt. Speaking of Gruber:
And that was all before Shumlin, a Democrat, almost lost reelection last month in one of the country’s most liberal states. And it was before MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, the now notorious Obamacare consultant who also advised Vermont until his $400,000 contract was killed amid the controversy, became political poison.
Shumlin had missed two earlier financing deadlines but finally released his proposal. But he immediately cast it as “detrimental to Vermonters.” The model called for businesses to take on a double-digit payroll tax, while individuals would face up to a 9.5 percent premium assessment. Big businesses, in particular, didn’t want to pay for Shumlin’s plan while maintaining their own employee health plans.
“These are simply not tax rates that I can responsibly support or urge the Legislature to pass,” the governor said. “In my judgment, the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families and the state’s economy.”
That’ll be how single-payer hustlers explain this embarrassing defeat away in years to come, should pesky conservatives bring it up: they’ll say Shumlin was unpopular and inept, bankrupt of the political capital needed to bring a single-payer god-child into the mortal world, while Gruber was too much of a toxic political liability. In 2018 or so, when ObamaCare collapses into a fiscal black hole, rest assured the “right people” will be standing by to implement a genius single-player plan that showers “free” medicine upon everyone.
And unlike Vermont, they’ll have oodles of freshly-printed deficit dollars to finance their scheme, which will hammer every aspect of medicine into a unified system of breathtaking scope and beautiful intricacy… designed by the same boobs who couldn’t launch a website with a billion-dollar budget, and break out in hives at the thought of being honest with the American people about anything they’re planning to do. Vermont, by contrast, had to deal with some sizable exemptions from its nascent single-payer scheme – big self-insured corporations and Medicare – plus a shortfall of $150 million from the funds Shumlin wanted to squeeze out of taxpayers from other states.
Without those pennies from federal heaven, every cobwebbed liberal nostrum crumbled to dust beneath the weight of Vermont’s single-payer plan. Businesses are supposed to be piggy banks from which the Left can shake unlimited money without inconveniencing consumers and workers from the Sainted Middle Class, but Vermont balked at dropping a double-digit payroll tax on employers… and soaking employees with a 9.5 percent premium assessment on top of that. Nobody even tried to float Barack Obama’s Big Lie by claiming you could keep your old plan if you liked your old plan. A big left-wing scheme died because the governor had to admit it would cause “economic disruption and risks” that would be too much for small businesses and individual citizens to handle.
(Note that he still had to cloak the latter point in threadbare lefty rhetoric about “working families” – a highly fungible abstract political concept only tenuously connected to actual families with working parents, which serves as both the justification for everything the Left wants to do, and their all-purpose escape hatch from failed efforts. Rest assured that if you’re part of a family with working parents who pull down a bit too much cash for liberal tastes, Shumlin and every other Democrat in America will happily tax the hell out of you. A great deal of their political capital is harvested by bringing the spoils of redistribution to people who are not working and do not preside over intact families.)
Health insurance and medicine are commodities, subject to the same market forces as any other. They’re also separate commodities, although obviously related to each other. Politicians who seek control of important commodities are eager to obscure their connection to market forces, replacing the benefits of healthy competition – which requires consumers to have clear information about cost and supply – with the hollow promises of compulsory efficiency secured through government power. Distribution occurs at gunpoint, while funding is siphoned from the great grey see of general taxation, completely obscuring the marketplace from blindfolded consumers… but the marketplace still exists. The money has to come from somewhere. Limited supply must be handled through forcible rationing. Tidal forces are still at work beneath the Sea of Taxes, and in the shallow waters of a small state’s budget, those forces cannot be hidden long enough to trick voters into surrendering their freedom. Chin up, medicine socializers: you’ll have easier sailing across the red sea of the federal budget, trillions of fathoms deep, when you run the single-payer scam from coast to coast in a few years.