(Host) Take the time to create real change in health care. That was the advice of some universal health care supporters at a Democratic forum in Brattleboro last night.
Windham County Democrats had asked members of the Senate Health and Welfare committee to explain their changes to the House health care bill.
They were joined at the last minute by Senate President, Peter Welch. He said he wanted to address fears that he wants to weaken the bill to forestall a veto by Governor, Jim Douglas. Welch said he wants to pass a bill so strong the people will insist that Douglas sign it.
But former Senate President, Peter Shumlin, questioned whether there’s time for that in this half of the biennium. Shumlin said he regretted buying into the theory that you can change health care incrementally.
(Shumlin) “Until we fundamentally reorganize the way you take in and send out dollars you’re not going to garner the savings that we need to provide universal access for all Vermonters. So I really am hoping the legislature will slow down a bit, go on the road this summer and fall, speak with Vermonters about all of the options and come back next year and really pass a bold, comprehensive bill.”
(Host) Welch agreed that time was short.
(Welch) “But every day that goes by, it’s another million dollars in health spending that we increase how much we’re spending on health care in this state of Vermont. So frankly, I feel a sense of urgency. I want to get it right. But I feel a sense of urgency that we address spiraling costs and the crushing insecurity that people have about not being able to get access to health care.”
(Host) Senate President Peter Welch will be the guest on VPR’s Switchboard this evening.