THE FIX IS IN: HOUSE SPEAKER STACKS HEALTH CARE COMMITTEE

“On Saturday, Governor Shumlin told the Democratic Caucus to ‘plow the ground’ for a single payer, taxpayer financed healthcare system in the Legislature this year. Only a few days later, in a purely partisan move, House Speaker Shap Smith replaced John Mitchell (R-Fairfax), one of the few remaining moderate voices on the Health Care Committee, with Democrat Kathy Hoyt of Norwich. Democrats now hold 7 seats on the Health Care Committee and Republicans now hold only 2 seats. This move comes a little more than a week after a Republican discovered that the Shumlin administration had knowingly mislead the committee about security breaches of the new healthcare exchange website.
“It is really hard to believe how extremely partisan and opportunistic this is. Adding one more Democrat creates an even bigger rubber stamp for a committee already overwhelmingly dominated by partisan Democrats. Vermonters deserve better than this. Vermonters deserve leaders who are not afraid of answering the tough questions, like, how are we going to pay for their single payer healthcare? What are the benefits of the plan going to be? Can we count on them administering their single payer plan as well as they have the healthcare exchange? Or, what are we going to do when the Federal money dries up?
“By making this move, Democrats have made clear they don’t want to have to answer these questions until after the 2014 elections. While this may be politically beneficial for them, it is irresponsible and extremely partisan governing–like what we see happening too often in Washington, DC. Every Vermont individual, family, and employer have a right
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to know the answers. Now, because they are afraid of those answers, they are making an effort to ensure these questions are drowned out in committee. Sadly, it will be working Vermonters who pay the biggest price for this extreme partisanship.”

— Brent Burns, Political Director, Vermont Republican Party

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