Conservatives target pre-election scare tactics at Medicare recipients

WEST BRATTLEBORO — Dan Feliciano, Libertarian gubernatorial hopeful, and Republican Rob Roper, president of Ethan Allen Institute, have been running scare tactics before the Nov. 4 election - tactics aimed at Medicare recipients, probably to intimidate them into not voting for incumbent Governor Peter Shumlin.

These two free-market proponents are implying that Vermont's Act 48 and Governor Shumlin are deceiving our Medicare recipients. They claim that Act 48, which outlines the rules for a future single-payer plan - Green Mountain Care/universal health care for all Vermont residents - specifies that the state and our governor can, and intend to, take over Medicare administration and use the Medicare money as the state chooses.

But: federal law prohibits this, and current Medicare recipients have and will have the exact guidelines and services that are now in place. The Affordable Care Act, our present federal health-care law, guarantees that until at least 2017.

An act of Congress is required to grant permission to change the law, and there is no such act moving in the Congressional pipeline.

Dan Feliciano might or might not know this fact, but Rob Roper does; I found a buried statement in his Ethan Allen Institute website verifying this. And Governor Shumlin and his health team know it very well.

I write to reassure Medicare recipients - and I am one - that a vote for incumbent Governor Shumlin will have absolutely no effect on Medicare for us.

Both Feliciano and Republican gubernatorial challenger Scott Milne seem to prefer the outdated and failed free-market health-care insurance, and they seem to prefer the status quo. Nor do they believe health care is a human right.

We all can see that during more than half a century, our system has failed to cover all. Many millions remain under- or uninsured, with serious hardship.

Sadly, even the U.S. Supreme Court has made it legal for states to avoid expanding Medicaid for the poor. Health-care costs are badly stressing families and businesses. All 50 states' governments and the feds are seriously handicapped by these costs.

Sound economic growth is made more difficult. A universal health-care system can, if done properly, turn this around. People with opposing political philosophies must try to reach consensus and move forward together.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates