A Vermont Health Care Parable, by Hon. Randy Brock
A man and his family stopped their car in front of the general store and, spying an old Vermonter, called out, “We’re moving into town. Can you give us directions to where we can buy health insurance?”
The old man thought for a moment and said, “You just keep on through town ‘til you come to what’s left of the old Free Market. It’s pretty much boarded up and out-of-business now. It had been going downhill for twenty years, ever since most of the insurance companies got run out of town.”
He continued, “Right there, turn left onto Regulation Road. There’s a sign there. In fact there must be a hundred signs – most of ‘em in print too small to read. The state comes and puts up another one every couple of days.”
The old-timer went on, “Watch yourself though, ‘cause there’s more speed bumps along there than you’ve ever seen. Oh, and you can count on getting’ stuck behind a manure spreader. Lots of manure on that road. And after a few miles, it turns into a toll road. “
“How much is the toll?” the man asks.
“Dunno. We keep asking, but they won’t tell us. Doesn’t matter, though. See, you pay the toll when you start out. But everybody gets charged a different amount. Then, there’s another toll house at the end of the road. They either charge you even more or give you a refund. Problem is, you can’t ever predict which. My advice is take a lot of cash; you’ll need it.”
“Follow Regulation Road ‘til you get to Subsidy Four Corners. You’ll know when you get there because you’ll see the road construction. They’ve been building that entrance ramp to the Single Payer Turnpike for three years, but it’s still not finished. Mostly, the contractors just stand around waiting for payday, asleep on their shovels.”
“At the corners, you’ll see the Nothing Burger Diner – worst food in Vermont. Turn left there onto Swamp Road. In fact, just remember to turn left every chance you get. Continue along, but watch out for the potholes. A lot of them are big enough to swallow up whole families. But at least there’s no speed limit – they want you to go as fast as you can, even through the fog. Oh, the road at this point is one way. No way to turn back.”
“You’ll go over Bungling Brook, cross Crony Creek, past the Rube Goldberg farm and around Finger Point.”
“When you see the big train wreck up ahead, you’ll be at the junction of Arrogance and Incompetence. Yup, Arrogance and Incompetence. That’s the only place where you can buy health insurance in Vermont anymore. Believe me, you’ll know it when you get there.”
“Thank you,” says the man, beginning to drive off.
“Just a minute,” says the old Vermonter, thinking. “Are you sure you want to go down this road? You know, if
I were looking to buy health insurance for my family, I sure wouldn’t start from here.”
Randy Brock heads Rockledge Risk Advisors LLC. He is a former Vermont state auditor, state senator and he was the 2012 Republican nominee for Governor of Vermont. He is a Certified Fraud Examiner.